This apprenticeship is designed for people with several years’ work experience and will accelerate your career or help you master your current role.

The apprenticeship will meet the demands of an uncertain world, building on our wealth of industry experience, academic knowledge and dedicated lecturers, to give our graduates the edge in competitive times.

Dr Jake MonkProgramme Director, MBA

This part-time taught work/study MBA programme has been developed in collaboration with the CMI to assure our programme aligns with the SLMDA Standard. Flexibility to meet any changes to the Standard has been built into programme design, especially in terms of End Point Assessment (EPA). Our Senior Leaders will work and study alongside a broad range of senior managers and leaders, giving them the opportunity to network and learn about collaborative leadership.

You will develop deeper understanding of organisational leadership and management issues within your sector and will also gain understanding of the ever-changing collaborative leadership landscape in which many UK organisations now operate.

Combining higher and vocational education, you will have the opportunity to study towards an MBA Collaborative Leadership (Senior Leaders) award, a CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership and become a CMI Chartered Manager or Chartered Fellow, all while in paid employment.

What the apprenticeship covers

This apprenticeship, while providing development opportunities for many, focuses on those who have developed practical experience but who wish to develop their theoretical understanding of higher-level management skills further.

The advantage of the apprenticeship programme is the employer-defined knowledge, skills and behaviour outcomes that are integrated and assessed, underpinned with a management master’s degree, and the potential to achieve professional recognition.

What will I study?

The programme combines classroom, online and work-based learning to provide you with a strong mix of practical skills, industry experience, networking opportunities and academic understanding to support personal and professional development. It addresses key leadership topics including business strategy, financial management, entrepreneurship and innovation, leading effective change, business ethics and risk and leadership and personal development. 

You will also be given the opportunity to conduct a management project where they will draw on your new learning and skills to tackle, perhaps, an existing business situation and identify ways to improve it. Throughout the course you are supported by a personal academic tutor and a workplace mentor, who together help you evidence the synthesis of knowledge, skills and behaviours to enhance your professional practice and leadership credentials. Critical reflection is encouraged on all 6 taught modules as part of a personal development and programme portfolio. Learning gained must be reflected as part of the ‘professional discussion’, which is assessed externally as part of the end-point assessment (EPA), at the end of the course.

You will begin work on your work-based management project during your first year and will develop your research template and research proposal alongside your other modules. Your tutors will actively help with the preparation of an oral presentation as a ‘project showcase’ to an external assessor as part of the final End Point Assessment process. The programme of study seeks to develop all of the core skills for business leadership.

All about the course

Business Strategy for the Collaborative Environment (20 credits)

This module will provide an overview of the concept of strategy in a leadership context. You will consider a range of strategic alternatives and evaluate their suitability for a variety of leadership contexts. You will also become conversant with the complex issues involved in formulating, implementing and managing inter-organisational project and leading transformational change.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Collaborative Behaviour (20 credits)

The nature of innovative enterprise and of entrepreneurialism is considered along with the role entrepreneurial leadership in the development of modern organisations.  The module will develop your understanding of how entrepreneurial leadership, teams and networks can contribute to the success or failure of a business venture and to the overall performance of an organisation. 

Managing Ethics and Business Risk (20 credits)

This module crucially examines perspectives of business ethics, managing risk and corporate responsibility by reference to a range of traditional and postmodern ethical theories.  You will develop the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate issues, to understand the complex relationships between business and society and to appreciate the systemic risks and challenges faced by organisations interacting in a global marketplace.

Business Research (20 credits)

This module considers a range of research methods and supports participants in the development of an independent management project proposal. You will identify and delineate a managerial/work-based strategic problem (or propositions in relation to a problem to establish the framework for their larger management project.

How you'll learn

Learning and teaching is heavily orientated towards work-based learning where knowledge gained in classes and through independent study is applied to your strategic role in the workplace. This will provide you with rich opportunities for critical reflection and evaluation to further enhance your professional practice.

The approach to learning and teaching is participative, which means that you will contribute to discussion and debate from your own experience and you will also learn from your lecturers/tutors and your senior leader peers. A blend of face-to-face and online activities will be used to meet the modules’ learning outcomes and to provide a bridge between university and work-based learning. For example, core information may be provided via narrated PowerPoint presentations, webinars, suggested readings and learning activities, while learning at university will encompass classroom teaching, both independent and group work and formative peer-feedback to align theoretical and practical knowledge.

Importantly, face-to-face contact at the start of each module facilitates active learning and enhanced engagement in work-based learning as you value and accredit the knowledge and skills which have been learnt through your work. This allows you to demonstrate knowledge, skills and behaviour development relevant to your work. You will be challenged with alternative approaches to problem solving so that you can consider new ways of working.

To build on your senior leadership skills, problem-solving will be a consistent feature of class-based and blended learning activity. The use of workplace case studies and scenarios will test your understanding of collaborative leadership topics and elicit appropriate judgements, behaviours and actions. This approach will also contribute to your knowledge and in-depth understanding of collaborative leadership and organisational transformation opportunities within your given sector.

We will make extensive use of the University’s virtual learning environment (Blackboard and Collaborate Ultra) and other, appropriate online resources for all aspects of teaching, learning, assessment, communication and administration. All modules will have a dedicated Blackboard containing a wide range of learning resources and other material that support, supplement and in some cases provide an alternative to lectures and seminars.

Everyone in the cohort will be active participants in the shaping of the learning and teaching environment. Built into the programmes are opportunities to develop a sense of belonging as you learn to work in new groups, with people from diverse backgrounds and professional experience.

Along with developing a learning portfolio and your work-based project, master apprentices will normally study one 20 credit modules at a time, with 30 hours of academic directed study per module. These occasions will provide the opportunity for inter-professional learning and the building of social learning communities.

The team consists of highly qualified academics. They have a range of expertise and experience gained in industry and academia. All our team members hold doctoral and teaching qualifications. They are research-active. They have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. You can find out more about the current teaching on our Meet the Team webpage. You should note members of the teaching team might change.


The assessment methods used within the programme are designed to provide a diverse cohort of participants with opportunities to demonstrate and develop their abilities as appropriate to the level of study and/or their work setting.

Each module generally has one or two assessments from the following range: written assignments such as essays (includes reflective essays, case study essays, essays that review or critique research or essays based on a trigger), individual and group presentations, research reports, literature reviews; projects, critical reflections and portfolios. It is intended that at least one of the assessments for each module will relate directly to the participants’ place of work. The assessment mode will remain consistent, but the content will offer you the opportunity to put your learning into action and to deliver knowledge and understanding to your organisation. Not only will this provide opportunities for action research, but it will also provide opportunities for you to act as an informal internal consultant at work.

Once you have met your degree requirements, you will present your work in the form of the End Point Assessment (EPA) to gain your Senior Leaders Master’s Degree Apprenticeship. This EPA will be undertaken by a panel that includes the employer, a University representative and a Chartered Institute of Management (CMI) qualified independent assessor.

All of our course content is mapped to the Senior Leader and CMI Standards, which helps prepare you for your EPA. Preparation for your EPA occurs from the outset. It is expected that Master Apprentices will be able to critically reflect on their learning from their work-based management project & showcase, as well as the taught modules as part of their PDP. During Year 1 (trimester 1) induction you will learn how to create and build a “portfolio of evidence” as part of a personal development portfolio (PDP) for EPA. This is an electronic repository for all of your academic and workplace learning, which in turn will be assessed as part of your EPA.

Professional accreditation

Upon successful completion of the programme, participants will be awarded the CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership (7D1V2).

More information

Full information on the apprenticeship standard:

Find out more about apprenticeships

If you would like to speak with us, please call 01227 923 625

Email the Enterprise & Engagement Team using the form below. Please complete all fields.

Associated partners

The Graham Care Group
The Huntercombe Group
Medway Council
Pilgrims Hospices
The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust
Strode Park Foundation