Empowering Arla Leaders: A Journey with Connexin Academy and the Leadership Pipeline Institute


Arla team

Arla Food is the largest producer of dairy products in the United Kingdom and the 5th biggest dairy company in the world. With an extensive network of 2000 dairy farms spanning Britain, Arla's origins trace back to the 1880s. What sets Arla apart is its unique commitment to channelling all profits back to its farmer-owners. These owners actively participate in shaping the company's growth and development. Arla goes the extra mile by providing employees opportunities to advance their careers through on-the-job apprenticeships, facilitated by Connexin Academy.

When looking to upskill new managers, Arla Food employees enrolled with Connexin Academy on the Leadership Pipeline Institute (LPI) model, utilising the apprenticeship levy. With the support of LPI, Connexin Academy mapped two three-day classroom sessions covering Leadership Pipeline content, into the knowledge element of the apprenticeship standard. Additionally, customised e-learning modules were developed to fulfil the remaining knowledge requirements, enabling learners to attain their CMI Level 3 Principles of Management and Leadership alongside the apprenticeship.

Other knowledge, skills, and behaviour elements of the apprenticeship standard were covered by remote workshops, and through regular reviews with the learner and the line manager; ensuring an individualised program. Through the progress reviews, it was discovered that there was a need for extra support for learners, therefore Connexin Academy introduced remote dial-in workshops and learner forums on OneFile, an e-portfolio platform offering resources to assist learners in successfully completing their apprenticeship.

One learner said, “I learnt about the role of business objectives, and how to incorporate them in my day-to-day job, creating the organisational culture, different leadership approaches, and how to create a high performing team. I like to think this has improved my department in atmosphere, performance, and employee satisfaction.”

Often there is a tendency to promote highly skilled employees into leadership positions without providing adequate support for their transition. Connexin Academy addresses this challenge by collaborating with employers to guide, mentor, and coach their talented individuals. In partnership with Arla, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), and the Leadership Pipeline Institute (LPI), we leveraged our collective occupational and industry expertise to deliver a tailored development model. This approach aims to empower, upskill, and instil confidence in the next generation of Arla leaders.

For the past six years, Arla Foods and Connexin Academy have collaborated in providing LPI 'Leading Others' and 'Leading Leaders' programs within the Level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor and Level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager Apprenticeship Standards. Over this period, more than 200 learners have participated.

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