Democratising learning at Babcock

with Future Talent Learning



Global Defence and Aerospace firm Babcock International partnered with Future Talent Learning to upskill its future leaders using the Transformational Leadership Programme apprenticeship.

The Challenge

Babcock is a leading provider of engineering services, with an employee population of more than 34,000 globally.

The company had an ambition to improve leadership capability and bring more consistency to leadership development across the organisation. Following a successful MBA programme for a small cohort of senior executives, Babcock wanted to democratise learning across the business to all of its leaders as part of a more inclusive Babcock Academy. Its focus was to find a scalable and efficient way of upskilling existing and aspiring managers with the skills and mindset to lead in times of change and disruption.


This programme goes further than just helping learners develop their soft skills by providing plenty of opportunity for them to apply their new skills and knowledge to real-life business problems. There’s also a big focus on taking their development further by exploring the many stretch resources provided

Craig Smith, Head of Learning and Employee Experience, Babcock

The Solution

Babcock piloted the entirely virtual Transformational Leadership Programme in 2020 for a small cohort of 17 learners from their UK and European operations, across apprenticeship Level 3 and Level 5. Covering topics such as self-awareness, communication, decision-making and self-management, the 12- and 15-month programmes enabled participants to develop their soft skills and practise new behaviours from the outset, with encouragement to stretch their thinking and go beyond the resources, models or theories explored. The programme’s tripartite coaching model allowed line managers to be involved with important conversations together with a personal development coach, checking progress throughout the development journey. Babcock has since committed to larger learning cohorts, with more than 50 learners commencing in February and June 2021, with several hundred learners anticipated to be on the programme concurrently on a continual rolling basis.


Future Talent Learning’s Transformational Leadership Programme provides outstanding levels of content to engage learners in new and different ways, all while being virtual. I’m hugely impressed with the quality of speakers, curriculum content, one-to-one personalised coaching and the virtual simulations

Craig Smith, Head of Learning and Employee Experience, Babcock

The Outcomes

After taking part in this activity-led programme, participants reported an improved level of confidence in their individual leadership skills, agreeing that the learning supports them in their current role and recognising the many benefits for their futures. Line managers have commented on the high-quality teaching and learning taking place, with outputs “more than exceeding expectations”.

At organisational level, the Transformational Leadership Programme has allowed Babcock to utilise the apprenticeship levy in England in a meaningful way. Because the programme is virtual, and therefore accessible group-wide, there is appetite to establish it globally, with decision-makers commenting that this is a “fantastic way for us to roll out an extremely high-value leadership programme across the organisation”.

Deploying the programme across the business has provided a more consistent learning experience and improved the profile of Babcock’s learning and development function at group level.


The full interview with Babcock


Craig Smith, Head of Learning and Employee Experience, Babcock shares his insights on working with Future Talent Learning. 

Read the interview


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