Leadership Training for the Manchester Airports Group – Graduate Programme

Following the creation of its Early Talent Development Plan in 2014, Manchester Airports Group,(MAG) invited Benchmark to consult on and design a tailored leadership programme for its graduate entrants. This was part of a wider intervention by MAG to identify and address the experience and knowledge gaps identified in its early talent entrants across the Group. The overall aim of the leadership programme was to ensure that graduate entrants were given the knowledge, skills and ways of thinking to increase their confidence and leadership skills across all functional areas within MAG.


Detailed consultancy work identified the practical leadership skills gaps that were impacting on business performance objectives. These informed the design and development work which, in turn, identified the relevant learning outcomes. This was followed by the delivery of a successful pilot course at Benchmark’s training venue at the Farncombe Estate during which the concept, approach, inputs and outcomes were rigorously assessed against the original requirement. In terms of content, the course developed individual leadership skills making extensive use of workplace contextualised business improvement projects. A subsequent Impact Evaluation Day, four months later, using pre-agreed development metrics enabled improvements in personal leadership effectiveness and business improvement to be measured. This, in turn, provided us with valuable ROI data. The evidence collected and measured identified an average 37% improvement in the effective use of leadership and management skills when measured against pre-attendance data.

‘I have become more confident and approach new projects / problems in a productive pro-active way. I’m also looking forward to managing my own team, which should be happening later in the year, and applying the skills and theory learnt during the week.’

Improved Programme

The success of the pilot leadership course has resulted in Benchmark developing a continual improvement programme for current and future MAG graduates; designed to run in parallel with its wider Graduate Scheme. The Leadership Development Programme builds upon the pilot course exploring additional leadership, management and behaviour modules, supported by workplace coaching interventions. The programme is progressive and undertaken over a three year period to maximise learning, ensure continual improvement and deliver long term business benefits.

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