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Senior Leader - Level 7 Leadership Programme

The Senior Leader - Level 7 Leadership Programme is a combined qualification that is made up of knowledge, skills and behaviour units.

This qualification is designed for individuals wishing to develop strategic management and leadership practice who will have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to drive business activities in a senior management and leadership role.  The qualification contains a breadth of units, which are reflective of the tasks and activities required by managers or leaders in a variety of roles such as senior managers, and specialist managers who are accountable to a senior manager or director.


  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management.
  • CMI Strategic Leadership Diploma.
  • Senior Leader Apprenticeship at Level 7.
  • Optional MBA top-up available (see costs section).

The Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship represents an exciting opportunity to gain a level 7 qualification, supported by the University.  You’ll benefit from a flexible apprenticeship that is recognised by a leading industry body and underpinned by an innovative programme designed for leaders with global ambitions, delivered in a blended learning format.

Individuals studying on the Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship will learn about emerging business models and decision science as well as marketing, finance and accounting, and strategy.

This is a vocational qualification that has been developed with the help of employers and is based directly on the National Occupational Standards.

Topics covered

  • Leadership
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Economics
  • Strategy
  • Change
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship for New Business Models
  • Technology and Analytics
  • Decision Science Qualifications

Year 1

  • Foundation of Strategy and Leadership
  • Financial and Business Data Analysis
  • Work-based Learning Project: Analysing our Strategic Context

Year 2

  • Leading and Managing People
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Digital Era
  • Work-based Learning Project: Innovation Project

On successful completion, learners may wish to further their personal and professional development by investigating the opportunity to become a Chartered Manager.

  • Enhance your professional status by upgrading your CMI membership
  • Progress to other qualifications at the next level (e.g. from Level 7 to Level 8)
  • Apply to become a Chartered Manager

Professional Registration

Gain recognition for enhancing your knowledge, understanding and practice of management by applying for membership of the CMI.  Display your post nominal as a commitment to continuous professional development and accomplishment as a manager.

For managers who want to sharpen their professional edge and enhance their effectiveness, membership offers access to qualifications, courses, mentoring and unrivalled support resources. You can also achieve the ultimate management accolade, Chartered Manager status.

Duration: 24 Months (approximately 18 days face-to-face across the two years).

Location: *** delivered entirely online *** by University of Exeter, Business School.

Course start dates: April/May and September each year.  Up to 2 cohorts of 5 delegates each year.

Commitment: Staff on the programme will need to commit a minimum of 0.2FTE to their off-the-job training during their contracted working hours for the duration of the programme.

Assessment: This programme will be assessed as follows:

  • Module Assessments.
  • Assessment of portfolio of evidence.
  • Project showcase, based on work-based project; including report, presentation and questioning.
  • Professional Discussion, based on a review of a portfolio of evidence‌.

Senior Leader Brochure

Degree Apprenticeships Prospectus

Programme Fees

The University will invest £14,000 (per apprentice) to cover the Apprenticeship training and assessment element for this programme through our apprenticeship levy. There are no costs for the apprentice or directorate for the Senior Leader apprenticeship element of this programme.

Optional Extra Costs

You may wish to study an additional two optional modules to top up your learning to gain an MBA qualification. 

To avoid having a 2 tier system where some people get funding and others do not, the Registrar has agreed to support 10 staff (£4k per person, with 2 cohorts of 5) each year to cover the MBA element of the Senior Leader Programme.

Staff who are studying the MBA, and who have completed their MBA, should consider development opportunities of moving around services to broaden their experience and share their knowledge. PSLT will be looking for those that we support through the MBA to be available for University-wide projects.

Financial support for external learning

We are committed to ensuring you have the opportunity to develop yourself by acquiring skills and knowledge for your job role.  If you opt to undertake the optional MBA modules, you may be eligible for financial support from the university to cover the MBA element of the Senior Leader programme.

To be eligible for this financial support you MUST:

  • Read our training policies webpage.
  • You and your Dean of College/Head of Professional Service must complete the PD192 form.  You can find the form at the bottom of the Financial Support for External Learning webpage.

Notes on form completion.

  • Enter "N/A" in the cost per year field.
  • Total course cost should only cover the £4,000 MBA element as the rest of the apprenticeship is covered by our levy and those costs are not in scope for this financial support.
  • Enter "20% off-the-job training" in the Time commitment required during working hours field.
  • Email the completed form to

By completing the PD192, should you leave the employment of the University within 12-months of completing the programme/course of study, 50% of the MBA element fees will be recoverable by the University. If you leave before completing the programme, 100% of the MBA element fees will be recoverable by the University.


Delegates on this programme will typically be Professional Services Staff with a minimum of 2 years’ service at the University of Exeter, 3-5 years of strategic management or leadership experience, working at grade G and above. Managers at grade F would be considered if there is a strong case from the line manager.  They must have a contracted FTE of 0.8 FTE or above.

The Institute for Apprenticeships states that: English and Maths will be required at a minimum of Level 2 (GCSE grade 4/C or above) prior to the Assessment.

UK Government Apprenticeship Funding Rules state that:

  • The apprentice must have a contract of service with you, or an apprenticeship training agency, which is long enough for them to complete the apprenticeship successfully (including the end-point assessment). Therefore if the applicant is on a fixed-term contract, the contract end date must be after the expected apprenticeship training completion date.
  • The apprentice must have a job role (or roles) with you that provides the opportunity for them to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to achieve their apprenticeship.
  • The apprentice must have appropriate support and supervision on the job, by you, to carry out their job role.

The applicant must:

  • Apply for an apprenticeship where the job role, together with the off-the-job training, provides opportunities to cover the full occupational profile and learning all of the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to achieve the apprenticeship. As apprenticeships are aligned with occupations, and not previously gained qualifications, you will need to find a suitable level for the job role you are currently doing. For example, if you have never had any formal leadership and management training then you should consider looking at the levels and comments sections to see which training would best fit your experience and your current role.
  • The chosen apprenticeship may be at the same level as, or at a lower level than, a qualification the applicant already holds. It should allow the apprentice to acquire substantive new skills and the content must be materially different from any prior qualification or a previous apprenticeship.
  • Have commitment from their line manager to ensure that appropriate support is given to enable them to carry out their job and successfully complete their apprenticeship.

It is for individuals entering the management sector in roles including, but not limited to:

  • Business Manager/Lead
  • Cluster Lead/Senior Research Development Manager
  • College Operations Officer
  • Customer Service Manager
  • Deputy Head of …
  • Director of ..., Assistant Director of ...
  • Business Partner
  • Manager
  • Experimental Officer
  • Head of …
  • Portfolio Manager, Programme Manager
  • Senior Building Surveyor
  • Senior Manager, Senior Engineer, Senior Experimental Officer, Senior Financial Accountant, Senior Management Accountant, Senior Officer, Senior Project Manager
  • Operations Manager

*** September 2022 Cohort is FULL.  Any new applications received will be considered for the April and September 2023 cohorts***

Please note that approval of an application does not guarantee a place, the Training Provider admissions team will make contact with the candidates individually to confirm eligibility as part of their admissions process. Applicants may be required to complete online functional skills assessments for English and Maths (if they do not hold a GCSE grade C or above in those subjects) and will need to be able to provide evidence of further education as required.


There is an expectation that employees who complete the programme present their final project to the Professional Services Leadership Team (PSLT), and that they subsequently take part in University-wide projects as Return on Investment.


  1. Directorates identify candidates, and People Development contact the waiting list.  Individuals to submit applications submitted via SharePoint.
    • Individuals to complete the Staff Professional Development Request (Use Google Chrome web browser for best results) and upload a CV (on the application). Applications should detail commitment and how the training will benefit the applicant's role and service.  CV’s to be no more than two sides of A4/1 page, in MS Word or PDF format. Ensure the CV is tailored to Leadership and Management knowledge, skills and experience.
    • See the “Fees and Financial support for external learning” section above and complete the PD192 form if applicants require funding support for the MBA element.
    • Once submitted, the Line Manager approves/rejects the application, endorses and adds a statement of support to the request. When submitted, the application is sent to the People Development team.
  2. People Development collate applications and CVs and send them to Service Directors. Directors review applications with candidates and line managers and approve or reject them, providing feedback directly to the candidate.
    • Directors should use the following criteria to make approval decisions:
      • Personal development.
      • Business benefit.
      • Retention/Performance.
      • Directors to prioritise the opportunity for this development where appropriate to staff who feel they may have been adversely affected by the impact of covid-19 in line with the differential impact policy. They can also address the 20% commitment to ensure that the individual's workload is manageable and that it will not increase the workload of others in the team.
      • Eligibility: Delegates on the programme will typically be Professional Services Staff with a minimum of 2 years’ service at the University of Exeter, 3-5 years of strategic management or leadership experience, working at grade G and above. Managers at grade F would be considered if there is a strong case, and/or succession plan from the line manager. They must be able to attend all the residential dates, and complete their online study and assignments during their contracted working hours.
  3. Recommendations on approval/rejection from the Directors to be sent to
  4. People Development approve/reject applications and notify the degree apprenticeships admissions team.
  5. Applicants must have completed and submitted their paperwork to the University Admissions Team before February for the April cohort and July for the September cohort.
  6. April and September 20XX - cohorts start.


  • If there are more applicants than places on the cohort, we will allocate successful candidates to later cohorts – There are generally two cohorts of 5 places each academic year.