Learning and Development consultant/ business

Occupation Overview

Ensuring learning and development contributes to improved performance in the workplace at an individual, team and organisation level

Role / Occupation

L&D Consultant / Business Partner

Occupational / Role Profile:

A Learning & Development (L&D) Consultant/ Business Partner  is accountable for ensuring L&D contributes to, and influences, improved performance in the workplace at an individual, team and organisation level.  They also have the commercial responsibility to align learning needs with the strategic ambitions and objectives of the business. They are agents for change, influencing key stakeholders, making decisions and recommendations on what the business can / should do in an L&D context. They are also likely to lead on any L&D-related elements of business projects. The L&D Consultant / Partner will often have expertise and competence in a specific field whether it be technical, vocational or behavioural. They link the work they do to the context and strategic priorities of the business and measure the outcomes and impact of any learning interventions, to demonstrate a return on investment/expectation.

The role can be a generalist L&D or more specialist, where the focus and in-depth expertise is in a specific area such as organisation development, digital / blended learning, resourcing, or talent management. Whichever the area of focus, the role requires a good grounding across all areas of L&D, and is business and future focused.

The L&D Consultant / Business Partner role exists within a range of organisations including private, public and third sector. Typically, the individual works alongside colleagues who specialise in Human Resources (i.e. employee relations, reward, recruitment), often supported by an L&D Administrator and / or L&D Practitioner. They report to a Senior L&D Manager, Head of Department or Director. In larger organisations, they may be one of a team supporting the business, and may have responsibility for managing people and a budget.

Requirements: Core Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours


The L&D Consultant / Business Partner will be able to:

L&D Consultancy

  • Work as an L&D business partner or consultant across the whole organisation or key functions / relevant stakeholders as appropriate, to build insight into existing levels of capability against future requirements, identifying organisational skills gaps and risks.
  • Use a range of techniques to obtain an initial brief from internal stakeholders, and investigate and analyse data to validate the need for a learning intervention.
  • Present a range of relevant and innovative solutions, logically and with credibility, to gain buy-in from senior stakeholders.
  • Develop an Organisational Development / L&D / succession plan that addresses gaps and fulfils skills, resourcing, talent, and future leadership needs in the partner / business area, accounting for changing internal and external environment, business and learner needs.
  • Initiate the design of interventions and monitor implementation.

Developing a Learning Culture

  • Foster and develop an embedded culture of learning and continuous improvement (e.g. through using communication campaigns).
  • Manage learning and knowledge transfer.
  • Facilitate collective and social learning using innovative technological solutions.
  • Influence management at all levels to collaborate and take responsibility for learning initiatives.
  • Set up and manage Action Learning sets, coaching and mentoring programmes.
  • Ensure quality of learning and training delivery through providing feedback to colleagues to ensure continuous improvement of self and others.

Budget/ Resource Management

  • Construct and manage an L&D budget/project/intervention, including managing resources to effectively deliver.
  • Identify and analyse potential cost savings to ensure maximum value.
  • Effectively engage, negotiate and manage third party suppliers.

Relationship management

  • Build effective working relationships with business managers (using the language of the business), peers and other L&D functions, together with relevant external organisations to deliver business results from L&D plans and solutions.
  • Communicate confidently with people at all levels, including senior management.
  • Work with senior leaders to carry out succession planning, organisational development and talent pipeline plans.

Facilitation Skills

  • Build rapport and demonstrate the use of language patterns to facilitate and encourage discussions, debate, learning and decisions.
  • Employ a range of questioning and listening skills to generate brainstorming, discussion and debate, learning and decisions.
  • Effectively manage challenging learner and group behaviours.



The L&D Consultant / Business Partner will have an understanding of:

Technical expertise

  • Paradigms, theories and models that underpin effective adult learning, group behaviour and learning culture, for example behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism, neuroscience.
  • Legislation and policies that influence learning design and delivery
  • The merits of different learning delivery channels to select an appropriate face-to-face, blended or digital solution.
  • Current research and appropriate application of best practice/best fit solutions.
  • The latest learning practice, trends and emerging thinking.
  • Positively incorporating diversity and inclusion into L&D interventions and processes. Researching and applying current best practice in this area.
  • Change management methodologies and the principles of project management.
  • Consultancy tools and techniques, for example the use of SWOT, 5 Whys, weighted matrix etc providing costed recommendations and projected impact/ Return on investment/ Return of expectation..

Business understanding

  • Their organisation’s vision, mission, values, strategy, plans and stakeholders; its external market and sector and the opportunities, challenges and issues it faces.
  • How business, learning and HR key performance indicators and metrics build a clear picture of how the business is performing.
  • The process of stakeholder mapping to define interactions with staff that are part of the learning needs analysis, design, delivery, and evaluation.
  • How to measure the impact, return on investment/expectation of learning on the business.

L&D function

  • The L&D structure required to meet business needs and whether this should be in-house, outsourced and how to source specialist expertise when required.
  • The various L&D roles, responsibilities and skills required to design and deliver face-to-face, blended or digital solutions.
  • The policies and processes required for effective organisation learning.
  • How to prepare, monitor and manage a budget.

Management information and technology

  • The collection of data and information, both qualitative and quantitative, to analyse learning needs, implement effective delivery and measure outcomes and impact.
  • How to identify sources, trends and anomalies in data/information.
  • How to shape internal information systems and how they play a role to support learning.
  • How technology can support learning, including understanding of digital platforms / delivery channels as relevant to the role.
  • Emerging technologies that can support effective learning.


The L&D Consultant / Business Partner will be able to demonstrate:

Constant and Curious Learner

  • Pro-actively seeking opportunities and feedback to develop their business acumen, improve their performance and overall capability.
  • Probing and inquiring to delve deeper into opportunities, options and solutions.
  • A desire to understand and experiment with new ideas and techniques, identifying areas for self and wider development/improvements.
  • That they act as a role model for learning within their organisation and across their networks.

Collaborative Partner

  • They are a trusted partner, acting with integrity, ensuring that clients, partners and learners alike feel heard and are confident in their ability to deliver.
  • They can enable different departments or stakeholders to effectively work together above their own agendas and priorities.

Commercial Thinker

  • They understand and apply the commercial context, realities and drivers behind learning needs and solutions.
  • They are focused on outcomes and impacts.
  • They develop ideas, insights and solutions for defined business benefits.

Constructive Challenger

  • Personal resilience to manage competing priorities, ensuring that they deliver the outcomes of their work through co-design and a full understanding of the impact they have on others.
  • The courage to hold a mirror up to the organisation when diagnosing solutions.
  • Skilfully navigating through organisational and personal politics.

Passionate and Agile Deliverer

  • Responsiveness and flexibility to changing internal and external environments and business needs.
  • Being a role model for the L&D profession, inspiring and galvanising others around learning solutions, ensuring that learning is embedded and delivers ambitious goals, outcomes and timelines.


Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the end-point assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. British Sign Language qualification is an alternative to English qualifications for those whom this is their primary language.    

Link to professional registration and progression:

The successful apprentice may be eligible to apply for Associate membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) or any other professional body that recognises this apprenticeship within its membership criteria (membership is subject to the professional bodies own membership requirements).


This is a Level 5 apprenticeship.


The length of this apprenticeship should typically be 18-24 months.

Review date:

The apprenticeship should be reviewed after 3 years.

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


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