Sheffield Hallam University


Will postgraduate executive leadership apprenticeships have organisational impact?

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

In our previous articles ‘£My boss is an apprentice’ and ‘£How does a postgraduate executive leadership apprenticeship work in practice?’ we asked whether identity and perceptions of the apprenticeship brand are shifting.

We have also looked at the acceptance of degree and masters level apprenticeships in the workplace, specifically where “my boss is an apprentice”, and touched upon the specific challenges for senior leader apprenticeship delivery - both of which we will return to in our upcoming £webinar.

In this third article we ask the important question - will the availability of higher and degree apprenticeships coupled with the ‘opportunity’ the levy and co-funding present, actually lead to a genuine difference in the workplace and impact on business productivity and culture?

The alternative path is to maintain the status quo simply carrying on as usual through moving workforce recruitment and development activities under this new banner to fit with new funding structures.

In this new world, workforce development strategies can be multifaceted, with a mix of Levy-funded new apprenticeship provision with regulatory health and safety and diversity training, for example.

Employers will still need placement and internship students and recruit from traditional talent pools.

However, we propose the new opportunities in Postgraduate Degree Apprenticeships, such as for example an Executive MBA in Facilities Management, can add a catalytic dimension and support government ambitions to address the UK’s productivity challenge.

There are two key aspects to this proposition:

Firstly, that the top tier of the apprenticeship journey pulls the brand upward and creates positive energy about the potential of apprenticeship programmes and the individual experience.

Secondly, we believe that the inclusion of your boss in this ladder of progression is a powerful mechanism to drive business performance.

  • Do you agree?
  • And how easy is implementation?

Does your boss believe in the power of higher level training, learning from others’ experience and application of this learning to the business plan?

Does he or she appreciate the challenges of doing a full time job and undertaking a part-time degree, and appreciate how this can change the person you are in your job and in your learning?

If so, then a wider cultural change is very possible, but it starts with advocacy and commitment.

We’ll pick this up at our webinar, but in the meantime leave you with a quote for reflection - Charles Darwin said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”


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?

Our Partners

Join the discussion as a guest or using , or Google

Top Ten Most Read