Henley wins Innovation in Executive Education award for British Army programme

The Chartered Association of Business Schools held its inaugural awards for Innovation in Executive Education last week. The Chartered ABS Executive Education Committee holds regular symposia for members throughout the year. The most recent event was focused on innovation in executive education practice and was addressed by three sector thought-leaders – Nick Shackleton-Jones, the Director of Learning & Performance Innovation at PA Consulting, Des Dearlove, one of the founders of the Thinkers50 and Patrick Hull, the Global Learning Director at Unilever.

The afternoon session saw presentations from eight Chartered ABS member business schools which shone a spotlight on the variety of approaches UK schools are offering to their clients. It was encouraging to see a diverse range of institutions giving presentations including established executive education providers and schools who have recently entered the marketplace. It was excellent to see how business schools are responding to changing demands from leaders and employers being driven by technological disruption and cultural shifts. We are grateful to all of the schools that entered.

The winning entry in the awards went to Henley Business School at the University of Reading for its sophisticated multi-dimensional programme with the British Army. The programme provides a ‘Higher Education Pathway’ to Army officers culminating in BSc, MSc or MSc Exec qualifications in Leadership and Strategic Studies, the Army Higher Education Pathway Programme (AHEP). The programme was designed by Henley in partnership with its parent, the University of Reading to award the degree qualifications, and its School of Politics, Economics  and International Relations (SPEIR) for specialist content, as well as an external technology provider, CDS. It is available to officer cadets at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and for serving army officers completing the intermediate staff course at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham. Participants continue to participate in AHEP throughout career stage 1 - the early years of their military careers until completion of the programme.

AHEP follows an Apprenticeship style approach, as the participants are very much engaged in their full-time military roles throughout the length of the programme. For those officers joining AHEP from Sandhurst, shortly before starting the programme the officer cadet participants graduate to be commissioned officers and leave Sandhurst to join their respective regiments and duties. This means that the starting cohorts are quickly fragmented and will find themselves working in different global locations and time zones. The programme of 15 modules therefore needed to be entirely deliverable online in addition to the army face-to-face delivery. The Army security protocols prevented the usual commercial platforms from being used, so a new bespoke, secure learning platform has been developed.

RMA Sandhurst has three intakes per year for its core 10-month Commission Course, so the AHEP programme has bi-monthly enrolment for new starters to embark on the modules shorty after completing Sandhurst. This in itself is no mean administrative task.

These varying layers of complexity – the five participating providers, the online delivery, the technology security, and continual enrolment and dispersion of participants shortly after embarking on the programme – meant the team had to build a programme map of considerable complexity. Nonetheless Henley managed these various strands to successfully enrol the first participants in September 2018, only sixteen months after it was awarded the contract to run the programme to the Army.

Developing Leaders magazine will be publishing a more in-depth case study of the AHEP programme later in the year.

Congratulations Henley Business School!


Thank you to Roddy Millar, Co-founder and Editorial Director of IEDP Developing Leaders, for providing the original content for this article. A full version of the article can be found here.