SHU article 2
Sheffield Hallam University


How does a postgraduate executive leadership apprenticeship work in practice?

By Sam Moorwood and Mark Rayner of Sheffield Hallam University’s Directorate of Education and Employer Partnerships (DEEP)

In our last article we raised the interesting prospect of working for an apprentice  – see “£My boss is an apprentice”.

There has been some interesting debate about value when businesses choose to spend their levy funds on the very highest executive level training.

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship is admittedly a departure from previous notions of the apprenticeship role, but it surely adds to the apprenticeship brand and helps overcome the limitations and stigma that higher education stakeholders have been working to overcome.

Beyond convincing the doubters that an apprentice can go all the way to the top, there are some significant challenges that arise when the legacy structures and rules of the funding regime are applied to the country’s economic future leaders. 

Let’s explore…

Here are four key challenges:

  • Can a business absorb the impact of 20% off the job training requirement when applied to their top brass and can providers minimise the impact through smarter course design?
  • If a business leader has significant experience, are they eligible to receive funding to attain a qualification?  How can providers ensure the levy is spent appropriately to support executive knowledge and skills development within the funding rules?
  • What are the motivational differences between completing an Executive MBA and then completing an apprenticeship End Point Assessment?
  • How does an executive level apprentice identify a suitable work-place mentor if they are at the top of the chain?  Where can they go to get support for the three-way review and to sign-off evidence of knowledge skills and behaviours set out in the Apprenticeship Standard?

As we innovate in order to advance, it is imperative that each new executive apprentice is on an authentic apprenticeship programme for the benefit of the learner, the business and the economy.

Then we can ask:  What about benefits, what about business impact? 

In our next article we will explore these solutions as we prepare for our upcoming £webinar.


Sheffield Hallam University is currently creating a National centre for Excellence for Degree Apprenticeships which is due to open in Autumn 2018.

The university received a grant towards the project from the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Combined Authority to provide bespoke teaching space and IT equipment for hundreds of learners on degree apprenticeships.

Hallam is one of the leading universities for its offer of degree apprenticeships with a diverse and growing portfolio helping businesses and public sector organisations to tackle current and future skills shortages in key industries.

The University currently offers degree apprenticeships in: £Construction and Chartered Surveying, £Digital Solutions and IT, £Engineering, £Food Technology, £Health and Social Care, £Leadership and Management.

Hallam works in partnership with a host of organisations including Nestle UK and Ireland, JCB, Wipro, Horbury Group and Henry Boot to deliver these courses.

To find out more about degree apprenticeships for senior leaders at Sheffield Hallam University sign up for our live, interactive £webinar on 28 June.

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