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Degree Partnerships

Operations/Departmental Manager Apprenticeship

Final award: 

  • IfATE Level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager Apprenticeship
  • CertHE in Operational Management
Duration 16-18 months
Entry point(s) October
Application deadline

Dependent on employer, see How to apply

Campus Online Learning


  • This course is for current or aspiring managers to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours so that they can drive performance and productivity improvements in their organisation. Apprentices will study a broad range of topics: selecting and leading a team, building relationships and communication, developing self-awareness, operational and financial management and project management.
  • The apprenticeship will involve innovative learning and teaching methods, achieved through online learning, including recorded lectures and live webinars.
  • Apprentices will study for at least six hours per week throughout the duration of the course. Our flexible learning and online resources minimise disruption so apprentices can continue to fulfil their current roles.
  • Apprentices will develop new knowledge, skills, and ideas that will enable them to become more effective employees who can add real change to their organisations and lay the foundation for a prosperous and challenging career. 
  • The University of Exeter’s Business School is triple accredited by AAVSB, AMBA, and EQUIS, demonstrating our assurance to providing high standards of quality and an outstanding educational experience, helping our students to stand out in a competitive global environment.

View 2024 Entry

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Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

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Entry requirements

We require at least three A Levels at Grade C or above and/or two years’ relevant experience. All candidates will need to be in a role that supports the gathering of evidence required to illustrate the new learning.

How to apply

Operations/Departmental Manager does not follow the standard UCAS application process. You can apply to this programme in addition to making applications to any institution through UCAS. To gain a place on the apprenticeship:

  1. Apply directly for a vacancy with a relevant employer – please check their websites for vacancies. The GOV.UK website will also list a number of DA vacancies throughout the year. Current DA vacancies our partner employers are advertising through us can be found on our current vacancies page. Applicants are welcome to apply for more than one vacancy. 
  2. Already have a position or job offer from a company that is willing to support your application.

Once you meet one of above options, please get in touch with us and we will proceed with your application.


Full programme cost: £7,000

The employer fully covers the cost of the apprenticeship; apprentices do not pay for any of the eligible training costs. The apprentice will be an employee of the organisation, gaining a University of Exeter award alongside working and earning a salary.

Employers who pay the Apprenticeship Levy will pay for the apprenticeship fees directly through that contribution.  See further information on the Apprenticeship Levy funding.

UK-based employers who do not pay the Levy will be able to claim 95 per cent of the cost of the apprenticeship from the Government. Up to 100 per cent Government contribution may be available if the employer has fewer than 50 employees and:

  • Recruits an apprentice aged 16-18
  • OR an apprentice aged 19-24 who has previously been in care or who has a local authority education, health and care plan

See further information on the Apprenticeship Levy funding.

Employers must pay their apprentices a salary at least consistent with national legislation.

Funding eligibility criteria

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Course content

Integrative in its design and delivery, this qualification is for Operations or Departmental Managers who take responsibility for people, projects, operations and/or services to deliver organisational success. In line with CMI Chartered Manager guidelines, it is applicable to managers from all sectors - the private, public or third sector - and all sizes of organisations. 

This qualification forms the core of an apprenticeship that has been designed to provide access to development opportunities for as wide a range of individuals as possible. This includes individuals who are at the start of their career and who wish to become operational managers and achieve professional recognition on achievement of the apprenticeship once they have passed their end-point assessment, as well as those who may already have developed practical experience but who wish to develop their theoretical understanding of management skills further.


On average, approximately 6 hours per week of a learner’s contractual working time will be given over to study. Apprentices can expect to be stretched and challenged but supported throughout as they develop the academic skills required to be a successful Operations or Departmental Manager.

An Operations or Departmental Manager is someone who can take responsibility for people, projects, operations and/or services to deliver long term organisational success, with the professional recognition of their ability to deliver impact, behave ethically and demonstrate their commitment to continual learning and development. Our ambition is for our apprentices to complete the programme academically ready to grow into more senior roles. Apprentices are supported to demonstrate managerial effectiveness using skills such as critical thinking, negotiation, innovation and creativity which are then applied to business issues.

The CertHE is made of 5 modules, worth 120 credits, that map directly to the Operations or Departmental Manager standard and the modules run one after the other over a period of 13 months, with 3 additional months for EPA. The first 4 modules (selecting and leading a team, building relationships and communication, self-awareness and operational and financial management) are worth 15 credits, while the project module is worth 60. Each stage of study is structured to incorporate residential masterclasses, online learning, academic coaching and workplace mentoring. Assessment is ongoing and is relevant to the work tasks of practicing managers, measuring the higher-level thinking skills demonstrated in a variety of problem-based assignments. During and outside of this time, apprentices will also be able to meet one-to-one with their academic mentor. 


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About the apprenticeship

Apprentices will be a full salaried member of an organisation in the UK. Much of the learning will take place at work, either through projects linked to academic content or time set aside for distance learning. Apprentices will be working in an exciting and relevant job from day one of their studies, meaning when they graduate, they'll have both the professional and academic experience sought after by employers.

Employer valued skills

Solid industry experience is what employers look for when recruiting. The structure of the apprenticeship standards means that apprentices will gain knowledge, skills and behaviours to be a fully-fledged manager at the end of the programme. They will have gained experience in areas including selecting and leading a team, building relationships and communication, developing self-awareness, operational and financial management and project management.