Lifelong learning and apprenticeships for senior leaders

University of Birmingham

Degree Apprenticeships bring together university study and on-the-job training and are increasingly relevant for businesses looking to provide their future leaders with lifelong learning opportunities.

As employers define what knowledge, skills and behaviours they require in apprenticeship standards, Degree Apprenticeship programmes can deliver consistent and appropriate training in specialised areas, based on sector needs.

An interesting study published by CV-Library highlighted that professionals from Birmingham would rather do an apprenticeship over a stand-alone degree qualification, which shows the need to increase awareness of the fact that both are possible!

The Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard, approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships, provides opportunities for businesses to upskill their existing workforce and create competent and effective future leaders.

Businesses are increasingly aware of the benefits of offering lifelong learning opportunities to colleagues and the Apprenticeship Levy is an additional factor in driving businesses towards Senior Leader Apprenticeships. (Employers in England whose annual pay bill is over £3 million pay an additional 0.5% of their payroll costs into a Digital Service Account; otherwise known as the Apprenticeship Levy.  It is these funds which can be used to contribute towards apprenticeship training. )

Employers need to work with a training provider with a focused approach on developing or recruiting to a programme based on their specific requirements. Although it is a partnership, it needs to be employer-led, with the training provider able to flex its programme design around the wants and needs of an employer.

It is also important to make sure the programme is a tailored solution, for example that a Senior Leader programme draws on relevant training for that sector, be it in Education or Healthcare for instance. Our postgraduate-level apprenticeship programmes cover our Executive MBA and MSc Public Management and Leadership alongside an MSc in Health and Care System and Leadership.   

More and more people in work now see Degree Apprenticeships as offering the best approach to develop the skills they need to become Senior Leaders within their organisation. For them, as they start on this journey, it is important to work out how to balance their training requirements with job commitments and personal time.  

The employer needs to work together with them to ascertain how best to fit the educational programme in with workplace needs and all parties need to demonstrate flexibility to make it work.

Talk to our Degree Apprenticeships team to understand what this might mean for you. To learn more about engaging with the University please click here or email us at:

Jade Westwood
Degree Apprenticeships Manager
University of Birmingham