Oliver Heald stood outside Anwyl HQ builidng

A modern way of working: Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership in association with Liverpool John Moores University


Anwyl Partnerships has joined forces with Liverpool John Moores University to deliver a business improvement project that aims to deliver ‘more homes faster’. The UK is in the midst of a national housing shortage where Government forecasts require the supply of more than 250,000 homes per year to meet demand. Prior to Covid-19, the industry was delivering around 180,000 homes per year, and the government has since called upon the industry to respond to its national growth plan to ‘Build Back Better’.

In 2020, in consultation with Tim Whitehill of Project Five Consulting, Anwyl Partnerships were successful in securing a £120k research and innovation fund from BEIS, through Innovate UK, to be invested in a two-year long Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with LJMU. The project will focus on the improvement of operational processes and systems, leadership and management development, with the aim of increasing productivity by more than 20%.

Oliver Heald has joined the project as the KTP Associate in the role of Business Improvement Manager. His responsibility is to deliver the project objectives, working between the university knowledge base and Anwyl Partnerships operational teams, ensuring the implementation of new digital technologies and lean ways of working that deliver the productivity gains. The hope is to position the company at the forefront of housing delivery in North Wales and North West England.

Marketing & Community Engagement Coordinator, Laura Jones discusses the new role with Oliver:

Can you tell us about what your studying at LJMU?

I am just about to complete my MBA in Innovation through York St John University. As part of the role, I am also required to complete the CMI Level 5 qualification in Management and Leadership, as well as spending 10% of my employment on personal development.

My main goals for development are based around ‘Digital Transformation’, and the development of my agile skills through the project management institute series of courses, ahead of my DBA.

How did you learn about the KTP?

At the beginning of my MBA studies, I was looking for roles where I could utilise my theoretical knowledge to help organisations and individuals develop. I had researched KTP schemes from various Universities which is where I found this opportunity.

Why did you feel that it would be something that would be good for you?

What was really important for me was to find a role where I could help people develop, but also find a role where I could develop personally too. I really enjoy meeting new people and learning from their experiences, and a big motivator for me is to help people reach their potential.

Can you describe your placement at Anwyl? Your role, research, actions, aims etc?

The key objective of the placement is to help develop a culture for sustained growth and resilience. As part of this, I will be looking at four levels across the Partnerships team; organisation, systems, process and people. Across these levels, we will be helping to implement a range of methodologies and practices such as ‘Lean’ process management, ‘Scrum’ project management, ‘Agile’ leadership and teams, and learning and development plans.

During the project, we will report on the success and learnings of these initiatives and work with employees of the organisation to continually improve processes, strategic initiatives and systems to help create an organisation that is ready for the future.

How long will your placement at Anwyl last?

The placement will last for two years. I will be based at the Anwyl office, but I am required to attend specific compulsory training set out by Innovate UK and attend meetings and training at LJMU. As part of the project, I am also required to attend courses and conferences relevant to my placement and personal development plan.

How does experience in a workplace as part of your course help you?

What is key to the success of this partnership is that we can use our theoretical knowledge to add value to Anwyl Partnerships. The benefit to myself is that I get to see how to implement that knowledge in real world situations and develop my understanding of methods and theories. Some of the knowledge that we can help Anwyl Partnerships develop from a management perspective may be quite new for the industry and untested. This experience will give me and LJMU the opportunity to test and learn from these specific theories, which will help add value to the organisation and also help others within the industry.

How does the KTP benefit the business?

Hopefully we can add value to the organisation by bringing in new expertise and help them to embed that knowledge within Anwyl Partnerships. This will be done through myself but also the access to staff at LJMU. As part of the scheme, we want to help improve efficiencies, develop employees, implement new systems and create a culture that drives innovation and is adaptable to change. Ultimately, we hope that this results in increased profitability for Anwyl Partnerships; an efficient, empowered and motivated workforce; and an organisation that has the right tools for sustained future growth.

What do you hope to achieve for the business as a result of your placement?

My main aspirations are to help motivate, develop and empower individuals and teams at Anwyl Partnerships to be collaborative, creative and innovative. I want to help cultivate an environment where everyone enjoys being part of the ‘Anwyl Way’. I also want to ensure that when the project does finish, I leave the organisation in a better place and ensure that the processes, systems and methods are firmly embedded within the organisation.