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Management and Leadership

Management and Leadership


10 Oct, 2022

Effective management is vital to every organisation. If you’ve taken a leadership role while in uniform – maybe with the relevant institute membership and qualifications to back it up – you could already have a suitable skill-set to transfer to the civilian workplace

What’s involved?

Management and leadership exist in every organisation – the two go hand in hand, but, in essence, they are about the control and coordination of people and material resources. The use of teams and project-based working methods, the identification of individual roles within the organisation, and an increased emphasis on the best possible use of all resources, all under a legal spotlight, make effective management and leadership more of a challenge than ever before.

Organisations such as the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) are dedicated to raising the performance of businesses in the UK by championing management via the provision of appropriate standards and qualifications. These aim to equip those in management and leadership or supervisory roles with the skills they need to deal with the challenges and decisions they face throughout their careers. They also help such individuals to realise their own full potential as well as that of their organisations.

Skill up while serving

Service careers can involve a wide and varied experience of management – often in extremely difficult circumstances. Like many Service people, you may have management skills and experience, and perhaps institute membership (see below) that reflects this. General management is practised by most of those in positions of authority and responsibility in the Forces and, these days, is increasingly recognised with formal qualifications. 

The awarding of certificates and the opportunity to earn other qualifications by some additional work on top of Service courses mean that all levels of Service management can now be recognised, so that military training can be translated into terms that civilian employers will understand – which may be something you want to consider for the future, when the time comes for you to leave. Leadership and management are core skills for all military personnel, and are among the most transferable of skills into the civilian world. The majority of civilian employers endorse the need for appropriate leadership and management skills, and leadership and management qualifications will certainly enhance your CV.

The British Army website highlights the accreditation opportunities that are available, saying: ‘Accreditation means gaining a civilian qualification having completed a military training course. The civilian qualification will usually be expressed as a number of credits at a particular level. To gain accreditation, the military training course is mapped against the standards of the civilian qualification. This can result in gaining a whole or partial qualification for your military training.

‘Many Army training courses are now accredited by a number of providers, which provide a range of civilian qualifications. Where there is more than one accreditation opportunity as a result of completing a course, the individual has the choice to take up any of the qualifications offered by providers.’ Click here to find out more.

The three main accreditation bodies (with links to the Armed Forces page of each, where applicable) are as follows:

In addition to qualifications, certain personal qualities can also be beneficial to those who ultimately wish to pursue a career in management (see the box titled ‘Have you got what it takes?’). In fact, due to the roles and responsibilities you may have taken on while serving, you could already be well equipped with a range of management skills without even realising it!

Get qualified!

A large number of different types of management and leadership qualifications are available within the UK. These range from vocational qualifications such as Scottish and national vocational qualifications (S/NVQs) and vocationally related qualifications (VRQs) to academic (e.g. foundation degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s, doctorates) and professional qualifications (see below). There is also learning available that is not officially accredited – for instance, the sort of group learning acquired at conferences.

There is some overlap between these types of qualification – for example, courses leading to vocational or professional qualifications are often delivered by academic institutions, and group learning is a feature common to many of the courses that lead to accredited qualifications.

Of the qualifications mentioned above, three types relate directly to the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for management and leadership: NVQs, SVQs and VRQs. Like S/NVQs, VRQs are based on the NOS, but differ in that they are taught courses that deliver the knowledge and understanding found in the standards; for each level of management there will be a number of VRQs available from the nationally accredited management awarding bodies. NVQs and SVQs represent national standards that are recognised by employers across the country.

As well as those listed above, there are many other courses on offer, with most business schools and the aforementioned institutes offering a number of certificates and diplomas in management, as well as assessment and quality assurance (verification) qualifications.

Courses and training options

There are many courses available to help people move in to management and leadership positions, whether you want a quick skills update or a longer, more in-depth course of training. 

Short courses (from one to three days) include a variety of areas (such as facilitation skills, consulting skills, effective delegation, employment law, psychology of management, middle management development, managing change, project management, and an introduction to management) that will provide a solid base to build on. Alternatively, they work well as brush-ups for existing managers at all levels. Course costs can start at around £450 for one day and rise to around £2,000 for three days. Some are run in-house, some are residential and some can be done via distance learning.

Intensive short courses take around five days and cost in the region of £1,600 upwards. These courses are for those wanting to learn about leadership and management in the workplace, or to revise their existing skillset. Completion sometimes comes with a recognised certificate – e.g. APMG Change Management Practitioner.

Certificate and diploma courses offer the opportunity for those with little or no management experience to learn in more depth. For example, an NVQ level 3 Certificate in Management, which typically covers how to be a dynamic leader and how to improve team performance, is aimed at those with an interest in becoming first-line managers. Meanwhile, a level 7 Management/Leadership Diploma is more suited to existing senior management personnel. These courses are typically taken as distance learning options. An NVQ at level 3 could take 9 to 12 months and start at around £1,250; an SVQ at level 5 in, say, Operational Management could take up to 18 months and cost around £1,770, while a VRQ at level 7 in Strategic Management and Leadership would take around 12 months and cost around £1,800.

Foundation degrees (e.g. Leadership and Management in Social Care, Leadership for Change and Growth, and Leadership and Management in Early Years) typically take into consideration the needs of employers and the skills students need for the workplace, which means learning is part work based, and part classroom/distance learning based. Students may be expected to have achieved 120 UCAS points in order to take an FD. However, non-standard qualifications and work experience may be taken into consideration in the absence of these points. Additionally, an FD can then be used to count towards a full bachelor’s degree. 

Bachelor’s degrees (which sometimes have entry requirements, and sometimes not) typically cost from about £6,000 to just under £10,000, and offer a range of related learning, such as problem-solving skills, decision making, collaborative working, strategy and reflective thinking. An undergraduate degree can be the stepping-stone to master’s study, which in turn can be the stepping-stone to PhD study (if you are looking for a natural progression). Costs for this kind of study tend to start at close to £10,000 and rise to in excess of £60,000. However, there may well be funding available. Subject areas for this level of study include, for instance, leadership development, international management, leadership and organisational change, and management consulting.

As well as those listed above, there are many other courses on offer, with most business schools and the institutes featured in this article offering a number of certificates and diplomas in management, as well as assessment and quality assurance (verification) qualifications.



The following personal qualities are helpful in management and leadership roles:

  • tough-mindedness
  • decisiveness
  • an extrovert nature
  • capacity to tolerate uncertainty
  • ability to think on one’s feet
  • intuitive understanding of others
  • high tolerance of stress.


For the past 30 years, the ILM has been supporting ex-military personnel to succeed in the business world, making the process of re-joining civilian life less daunting. 

Armed Forces personnel are able to translate the leadership skills and knowledge gained through all types of military training courses into an ILM qualification, making them more meaningful to employers. 

So, whether you are a junior leader or a senior officer, your civilian qualifications can grow alongside your military career, creating a CPD portfolio that will demonstrate your capabilities and highlight your transferable skills – without any additional work.

Even if you completed your military courses within the last three years, you still have a chance to apply for your ILM qualifications.

Click here for full details and to see what is available to you dependent on Service branch.

Use your ELC

Under the ELC scheme, a wide range of learning can be taken, provided it is offered by an approved provider listed on the ELCAS website and is at level 3 or above. For full details of how to make the most of your ELC, refer to the in-depth features elsewhere on the Quest website

The CMI website lists the following management apprenticeships as currently available: Team Leader/Supervisor (level 3); Operations/Departmental Manager (level 5); Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (level 6); Senior Leader Apprenticeship (level 7). Visit this webpage to stay up to date with the latest information. Alternatively, use your favourite search engine to discover more options. Or browse the government’s apprenticeship website (check out the ‘Business and administration’ section) or Find Apprenticeships, both of which allow you to search for apprenticeship opportunities by area of interest and location.

Professional bodies

The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM)

The ILM’s nationwide accredited centres deliver training on a huge range of courses each year in management and leadership. All members enjoy access to its information service and publications. Underpinned by a strong focus on developing workplace performance, the ILM’s extensively available qualifications – at many different levels and available for online study too – are designed explicitly to meet the needs of managers and their organisations.

Its multi-level qualifications cover areas such as:

  • leadership and management
  • effective management
  • principles of leadership and management
  • executive management
  • leadership and management skills
  • leading with integrity, and
  • strategic leadership.

In addition, it also offers qualifications at various levels under the banners of Coaching and Mentoring, Business and Enterprise, and Specialist.

The ILM has special membership arrangements in place for Forces personnel (see box).

Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

Chartered professional body the CMI is dedicated to promoting the highest standards in management and leadership excellence. All members enjoy access to its management library – one of the largest in the UK. Its approved and registered centres support students worldwide. It offers qualifications at multiple levels in areas including:

  • strategic management and leadership
  • leadership coaching and mentoring
  • management and leadership
  • management coaching and mentoring
  • first line management
  • coaching and mentoring
  • team leading.

Chartered Manager status is also offered for senior managers. 

Professional recognition awards and membership of professional bodies

This type of accreditation is not linked to specific military training courses, says the British Army website, but recognises an individual’s experience in a vocational/professional area, gained over a period of time. Professional recognition awards usually require a one-off payment and may confer the right to use post-nominals (letters placed after your name to denote your qualification/membership status); note that membership of a professional body requires the continuing payment of an annual membership fee and will usually confer the right to use post-nominals. Membership of a relevant professional body will enhance your CV.