All you need to know about the new Master’s Degree Apprenticeship for senior leaders

09 March 2017 -


Find out what CMI’s own Petra Wilton has to say about the development of a new Master’s level apprenticeship aimed at improving management skills in the nation’s leaders

Why is this apprenticeship being developed? Was there a need for it? Had companies asked for it? What problems is it seeking to solve?

The Department for Education gave the green light for developing a new Senior Leaders Master’s level degree apprenticeship in September 2016.

The apprenticeship is being designed by employers, working with CMI, to develop further the strategic leadership skills of those responsible for the overall performance and long-term sustainability of their organisations, as opposed to those with core operational management responsibilities.

The announcement is welcome news at a time of renewed focus on upskilling the UK, as Brexit continues to fuel concerns about future access to top-level international talent.

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.

According to a 2016 Investors in People study poor leadership and management costs the UK economy £84bn a year in lower productivity.

What’s the difference between this apprenticeship and getting a Master’s by the traditional route?

The main difference for this apprenticeship route as opposed to a traditional Master’s is that it is focused on work-based learning. The apprentices will learn while they continue to earn. They will study alongside their leadership roles, with 20% off the job development.

This new Master’s level apprenticeship seeks to embed the Master’s degree as the required qualification within the apprenticeship, and will also enable candidates to achieve Chartered Fellow status through demonstrating the required behaviours, skills and professional competencies described in the new standard.

READ MORE: Meet the Chartered Managers

This would ensure that the full new apprenticeship offer at this level would create the best of all worlds and combine the academic rigour with the professional and work-based experiences required to be effective in this critical leadership occupation.

What’s the advantage of the apprenticeship route?

Too many organisations suffer from accidental managers, those who have been promoted into senior management roles on the basis of strong performance in other functions, such as sales, finance or marketing, as opposed to their leadership skills. This new apprenticeship provides a route to support senior leadership development, which can have a powerful trickle-down effect throughout an organisation.

It means that employers will be able to lead by example and ensure that their top teams have the professional leadership skills needed to drive growth and organisational change.

In a post-Brexit environment, these leadership skills during turbulent times will be even more important.

For an individual, this new Master’s degree apprenticeship will give them the opportunity to enhance their strategic leadership and management skills without taking time out from their careers.

Has there been much interest in advance of the launch? Do you have any idea what the uptake will be?

The Master’s degree apprenticeship is currently being developed by a group of more than 30 employers, including Serco, Civil Service Learning, Interserve, Santander and JLR.

We initially expect to see some strong cohorts of participants on the Senior Leaders Master’s Degree Apprenticeship programmes from some of these major employers, and many other employers will undoubtedly follow their lead.

Do you see this as the beginning of something big? What kind of interest/uptake has there been regarding the Chartered Manager Degree apprenticeship, for example - does that indicate that there’s a lot of interest?

There has been a massive amount of interest in the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship both from individuals and from employers wanting to start their own programmes.

There are already 250 apprentices on programmes, and there’s more than 1,000 further learners being identified for the new programmes once the Levy and new arrangements come into operation in April.

It is widely anticipated by Universities UK and others that the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship will be one the most popular higher degree apprenticeships, alongside the digital and engineering degree apprenticeships.

Any details that you’re able to confirm about the Masters - how long it will be, partnerships, which qualification it will lead to, etc

It is proposed that leaders taking the Master’s apprenticeship will earn a Master’s degree, as well as Chartered Manager status and the apprenticeship at Level Seven.

It is anticipated that the likely duration will be two to three years, depending on previous experience.

Find out more about all of CMI’s apprenticeships, including how you can get involved as either an apprentice or an employer, here

Powered by Professional Manager