Government greenlights Master’s degree management apprenticeships

Skills Minister Anne Milton has given final approval for the funding band for the new Master's degree apprenticeship in leadership and management, which means that it's now ready for delivery.

The Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship was first approved in August 2017 by the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA). Yet, both employers and their providers had been waiting for the Levy funding band - now agreed at £18,000 for the two-year programme - to be approved before funded-delivery could start.*

The Minister's approval signals that more than 900 executive-level apprentices, currently waiting in the wings, will be able now to start their Master's degree apprenticeships.

The launch of the Senior Leaders Master's Degree Apprenticeship means that employers can now use the Apprenticeship Levy to pay for executive skills development.

It is designed to develop the strategic leadership skills of those responsible for the overall performance and long-term sustainability of their organisations, and is aimed at individuals moving into senior or strategic management roles.

The critical nature of these roles means that not having the right management and leadership skills can lead to the ultimate failure of the business. BEIS data reveals that incompetence or bad management of company directors causes 56% of corporate failures**. A 2016 report from Investors in People revealed that poor leadership and management costs the UK economy £84bn a year in lower productivity.

We're delighted that this new Master's level apprenticeship is now ready for delivery, as we know there's already pent-up demand with many employers keen to get started.

CMI has worked closely with both the trailblazer group and HE providers to develop standards that really meet the leadership needs of businesses across the UK. To tackle both our poor productivity and the uncertainties of Brexit, now more than ever, we need strong leaders. This means that top teams need professional leadership skills to drive business performance and growth. It will also help to challenge snobbery around vocational routes and can help demonstrate how these new apprenticeships really can provide pathways through to the top.

Petra Wilton, CMI's director of strategy

Apprenticeships are playing an increasingly significant role all across the UK economy, including at the very highest levels of leadership, so it is important that we are putting the right structures in place to ensure that they are of a high calibre and fit for the demands of the role. This approval means that we are better able to ensure first-class leadership among the next generation of senior managers.

More and more businesses of all sizes are realising the benefits that high-quality apprenticeships can offer. The Institute is putting employers in control of developing the standards they need, giving learners a basis for lasting employment and overcoming national skills gaps.

Antony Jenkins, Chair of the Institute for Apprenticeships

The Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship has been developed by a group of more than 30 employers*** led by Serco and Civil Service Learning, and supported by CMI. It offers a Master’s-level degree in management, which can include MBAs, and also gives learners the opportunity to gain Chartered Manager professional accreditation and fellowship of the Chartered Management Institute. CMI is the only chartered professional body for managers and leaders, counting more than 157,000 in its membership.

The new Master's apprenticeship adds to the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, which was launched in November 2015, and the team leader and operational manager apprenticeships launched in June 2016, providing a progression route for employers to invest in managers at all levels.

It's vital for Serco that we develop and retain our skilled and professional senior managers who enable their teams and the business to deliver essential services for our customers. We are delighted to have led on the development of the Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship with Civil Service Learning, and other employers. I am sure this apprenticeship will not only contribute to the successful development of Serco employees but also the wider UK economy.

Anne Thomas, Head of Serco Education

Developing the skills and knowledge of the future leaders of organisations is critical to ensuring we drive productivity and enable sustainable long term results. The standard allows organisations of all sizes across the public, private and third sectors to now access world-class management education, which will undoubtedly help unlock individual’s and their organisation's future potential and support a more vibrant UK economy to develop.

Justin Rix, partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP

On Wednesday 7 March, CMI is partnering with apprenticeships champions The 5% Club to host a live Q&A with a number of major employers and apprentices, featuring representatives from Barclays, Balfour Beatty and Serco, as part of National Apprenticeship Week. Guest speakers at the event include Lady Cobham, chair of The 5% Club, and Conservative MP Gillian Keegan.

For more information on the Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship, visit: or @CMI_managers

List of confirmed providers:

Ashridge Executive Education at Hult, Aston Business School, Cranfield School of Management, De Montfort University, Edge Hill University, Henley Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Sheffield Hallam University, Southampton Solent University, Teesside University, University of Bolton, University College of Estate Management, University of Cumbria, University of Gloucestershire, University of Portsmouth, University of Sunderland, University of Wolverhampton

**Leadership and Management in the UK – The key to sustainable growth – a summary of the evidence for the value of investing in leadership and management development, BEIS, 2012

***List of employers involved with developing this standard:

Serco (employer chair), Civil Service (employer chair); Acivico (Birmingham City Council); Anglo Educational; Barclays; Balfour Beatty; Barchester Healthcare; Boots UK Ltd; British Army; BBC; CMI; Codegent; Co-op; DFS; EY Foundation; Interserve; KPMG; Manchester Airport; Manchester City Council; Morgan Sindell; NHS (Dept of Health); Opus Building Services; Pearson; Pendragon plc; Royal Navy Apprenticeship Centre (Babcock); Sainsburys; Santander UK plc; Speedy Services; TFL; Tui; umi Digital; Unipart; United Utilities plc; Virgin Media; Wincanton; and XPO Logistics.

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About CMI

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the only chartered professional body for management and leaderships, dedicated to improving managers' skills and growing the number of qualified managers.

Our professional management qualifications span GCSE to PhD equivalents, including the unique Chartered Manager award, which increases earning potential and improves workplace performance. We have been registered as an apprentice assessment organisation by the Skills Funding Agency.

CMI has led the way in developing a suite of trailblazing management apprenticeships with a 40-strong group of employers. These start from Level 3 (team leader) and Level 5 (operations manager) through to Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. The Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship gives employers the option to upskill up to executive and C-suite level. CMI is a Skills Funding Agency-registered apprentice assessment organisation.

We provide employers and individual managers with access to the latest management thinking and with practical online support that helps them to embrace change, create high-performing teams and keep ahead of the curve.

With a member community of more than 157,000 managers and leaders, we promote high standards of ethical practice through our Professional Code of Conduct, and help managers to build their expertise through online networks, regional events and mentoring opportunities.