Skip to content

Toggle service links

Coronavirus: We continue to remain open and you can contact us as normal regarding our learning and development solutions for your employees. Please be aware it may take us longer to respond than usual. Find out more about our coronavirus response.

Senior Leaders

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Apprenticeships
  3. Higher and degree apprenticeships (England)
  4. Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship

Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) reviewed the Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard. The outcome of the review, published in July, was the removal of the mandatory qualification element of the apprenticeship.  The ministerial approval of the funding band was approved by the Government in January 2021 and the revised versions of the occupational standard and end-point assessment plan can be found here.  

We are delivering the new Senior Leader Apprenticeship programme to our first cohort in May 2021 and will soon publish details on our updated programme.  Our last date for applications for the May 2021 start is 26th February.  To find out more, or to register your interest please visit the Contact us page or email

A flexible apprenticeship programme to support the Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship standard, designed to develop strategic leaders and potential leaders of the future.

A strategic leader is someone who has senior management responsibility, which may include formal governance or director responsibilities. They are responsible for setting strategy, direction and vision, for providing a clear sense of purpose and driving strategic intent.

Our Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship will develop inclusive leaders who are responsible for developing ethical, innovative and supportive cultures with the ability to deliver results, manage complexity and instigate change.


It includes our triple-accredited MBA, which has successfully developed over 27,000 people worldwide.

Successful apprentices may be also eligible for membership or fellowship with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) or the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), depending on their management experience.

Who is it for?

The apprenticeship will be suitable for senior leaders in organisations of all sizes in the private, public or third sector. It’s for anyone who leads, organises and directs organisations, but specific job roles may include: General Manager, Senior Manager, Executive Director, COO, CFO, CEO, CIO and Senior Military Officer. It also provides employers with a useful tool to further develop and retain staff who have completed their graduate programme, providing a leadership pipeline for the future.

Why choose Open University Leadership and Management Apprenticeships?

  • Delivered flexibly around the demands of your organisation and requiring minimal time away from the workplace, using our tutor-supported, rich-media online learning methods
  • Learning can be delivered simultaneously to various locations using our tried-and-trusted educational technology, providing a consistent programme for multiple staff
  • Designed and delivered by the triple accredited Open University Business School, which is ranked in the world’s top 1%
  • We have nearly 50 years’ experience of providing knowledge and skills to busy working adults and have a proven history of delivering apprenticeship programmes to organisations from the NHS to Babcock

What core topics does the apprenticeship cover?

The programme concentrates on strategic analysis, interdisciplinary skills, intellectual stimulation and independent judgement and covers core themes such as critical engagement, embedding theory in practice and global impact awareness. It builds these upon a solid foundation of core disciplines, including:

  • managing people
  • organisational management
  • financial and management accounting principles
  • marketing
  • operations and supply chain management
  • project management
  • change management
  • virtual collaboration
  • peer learning
  • time management


On top of account management support, your organisation will also be allocated with the following resources:

  • Practice Tutor - Helps to integrate learning into the workplace across the entire programme and supports the delivery of the work-based learning modules. The practice tutor will visit the workplace at least four times per year.
  • Academic Tutor - Facilitates learning within the knowledge modules at each stage of the qualification through personalised tuition, student support and feedback.
  • Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Manager - Supports employers to deliver apprenticeship programmes that meet their business needs and are to agreed financial and performance targets. Provides regular management information.

Entry requirements

A minimum of three years’ experience in a managerial, professional or technical role, so that apprentices have a practical business base from which to build their MBA learning, as well as an honours degree awarded by a recognised UK university.

Various higher education and professional qualifications are considered equivalent to an honours degree, so please contact us if any prospective apprentices hold a qualification that you believe is an equivalent level to a UK degree. An example of this is The Open University Professional Certificate in Management.

Course Summary


Typically 2½ years, depending on previous knowledge, skills and experience

Qualification achieved

MBA, delivered by The Open University’s triple-accredited Business School

Contact us