EY with National Highways Roads Academy

People and Leadership

MCA Awards Finalist 2024

The purpose of National Highways (NH) is to connect the country safely and reliably, whilst delivering economic prosperity, social value and a thriving environment. Given that around 80% of the work required to deliver on this ambition is completed by NH’s supply chain, NH recognised that it needed to improve leadership capabilities, both within NH and more broadly across the sector.

NH asked EY to help redesign its existing leadership programme – Roads Academy (RA). The aim was to build and run a more learner-focused, inclusive, flexible and digital academy for the whole sector. EY worked with NH to evolve the structure, content and delivery of RA, equipping teams to better deliver against current and future roads investments. EY leveraged insights from its research collaboration with University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School and broke down the redesign and delivery of RA into three phases – i) Design, ii) Build, and iii) Run – positively challenging NH’s previous approach at each stage of the process, to ensure that ‘human-centred’ design thinking would inform delivery techniques and methods.

During each phase, EY restructured the team accordingly and brought in new members to ensure the available knowledge and skills aligned with the project’s requirements. Crucially, a one-team culture was developed with NH – embracing new ideas and diversity of thought – and continuous improvement sessions were run in order to strategically review how the collaboration could be bettered.

EY and NH continue to operate as a combined delivery team for Build and Run phases, steered by a Federated Advisory Board comprised of subject matter specialists from NH (e.g., Commercial and Procurement, Digital Services, Operations and HR) and diverse supply chain leaders (e.g. large Tier 1s, Tier 2s and SMEs). As the Strategic Delivery Partner, EY bring global experience in leadership, change management, learner experience and marketing to drive the day-to-day running of RA. This includes everything from onboarding and delivery through to offboarding all learners that come through the Academy. EY is also involved in efforts to recruit learners from across the sector (including targeted stakeholder engagement, brand identity design, marketing campaign development and sector events exhibiting).

The project has delivered some impressive outcomes. The redesigned RA is far more accessible and is empowering leaders across the sector to develop skills focused on improving customer outcomes and social value. So far, more than 400 learners have joined the redesigned RA – 11 times more than the original Academy – which is bolstering leadership capabilities and helping to attract, retain, and develop talent in the sector. The redesign has strengthened the diversity and inclusivity of RA, supporting NH’s broader commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

More broadly, RA has driven impact across the sector by developing more skilled leaders better able to deliver against NH imperatives. It has also provided valuable collaboration opportunities to address critical sector challenges and broken-down sector silos. To date, more than 75 organisations have joined the RA community – an 8 times increase in supplier engagement thus far.

View the EY profile in the MCA Members Directory.