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Degree Partnerships

Senior Leader Apprenticeship

Final award: 

  • IfATE Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship
  • University of Exeter Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management
  • CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice
  • CMI Chartered Manager Status
  • Optional extended Exeter MBA
Duration 18 months
Entry point(s) September, April
Application deadline

Dependent on employer, see How to apply

Campus Streatham Campus, Exeter and Online Learning



  • Equip your aspiring leaders with the tools to drive operational effectiveness and strategic intent
  • Designed for senior leaders employed within organisations of every size, and across all industries and sectors
  • Accredited by the Chartered Manager Institute (CMI) with CMI membership throughout the programme
  • A choice of two cohorts, one with Masterclasses delivered in Exeter and one delivered entirely online
  • Option for the apprentice to top-up learning to an Exeter MBA funded by the individual or employer

View 2024 Entry

Enquire now

Download our employer brochure

Open days and visit us

Download our programme flyer


Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Business School of the Year

Times Higher Education Awards 2022

Triple accredited Business School


No.1 in the UK and 9th globally

Corporate Knights' Better World MBA Rankings 2023

Tier one status

CEO Magazine's Global MBA rankings 2023


Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree or equivalent and at least three years’ relevant strategic management or leadership experience. Alternatively, a minimum of five years’ relevant strategic management or leadership experience would be considered if no prior degree is held. Level 2 Maths and English will need to be evidenced prior to end-point assessment (EPA).’

Candidates will be in a role that supports the gathering of evidence required for the Senior Leader apprenticeship ‘standard’.

Applicants must also have a valid and eligible residency status to gain entry onto the apprenticeship – please see the ESFA guidance for further information

How to apply

Selection to this programme is made by employers; candidates should already hold a post with the employer and continue working for them throughout the duration of the apprenticeship. The candidate should initially speak to their HR department and/or manager to gain sign off to undertake this apprenticeship.

Once the employer agrees for the candidate to apply for the apprenticeship, the candidate should then email requesting an admissions pack. If successful, the applicant will be offered a place at the University, and then a place on the programme. Further information will then be sent by our team about how to enrol as an apprentice.


Full programme cost: £14,000

The optional MBA top-up of £5,000 is funded by either the employer or the individual. (A reduction fee may be applied for multiple apprentices).

This apprenticeship is entirely funded through an Employers’ Apprenticeship Levy. Your employer fully covers the cost of the apprenticeship, apprentices do not pay for any of the eligible training costs. As an apprentice you will be an employee of your 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.

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

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

Funding eligibility criteria

  • To be eligible for funding candidates must meet the criteria listed in the ESFA guidance. Full guidance is available here.
  • Candidates must have a valid and eligible residency status to gain entry onto the apprenticeship – please see the ESFA guidance for further information.

Read more

Course content

Our Senior Leader Apprenticeship is designed for aspiring leaders who already hold senior management roles in public or private sector organisations of all sizes. It aims to equip participants with the management knowledge, leadership skills and behaviours exhibited by role models in these organisations that have been defined by employers in the Senior Leader Apprenticeship standard.

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship standard is made up of knowledge, skills and behaviours which apprentices must evidence throughout the course of the programme. The standard is complemented by the Postgraduate diploma, studied over 18 months through masterclasses, weekly distance learning and work-based learning.

Topics covered on this programme include:

  • Leading People and Organisations
  • Leading High Performing Organisations 
  • Strategy and Innovation
  • Developing Leadership Behaviour

*The top-up option is individual or employer funded. To gain a top-up to MBA, apprentices must complete two additional 30-credit modules after they’ve finished their end-point assessment.

When I started the course, I was leading a local team in my company (Visa) in Europe based in the UK. I applied for the course to undergo education in managing a business at a larger scale. 

My whole approach to dealing with issues was very visible to my management, as I applied various techniques at work. Very recently, I have been entrusted a Global leadership role at Visa to lead the Support function of Visa’s next generation payment application as well as the Tokenisation services. I am sure that the course and its learnings have helped in this regard ultimately. Overall it has been an excellent experience!

Read more from Saswata


Senior Leader (with MBA) Apprentice


Approximately 20 per cent of an apprentice's contractual working time will be given over to study. Our model is designed to be flexible around the needs of apprentices and workloads. No weekly day-release is required, mitigating disruption of their daily role and ensuring maximum flexibility.

The blended learning format incorporates:

  • Two to three day Masterclasses in Exeter or online, or at host employer’s premises, totalling around 17 days over the 18 months
  • Weekly distance learning that comprises of online classes and workshops
  • Interactive exercises and lectures
  • Work-based learning is a key element of the apprenticeship, and you will be assessed on projects undertaken in the workplace.

Our dedicated partnerships team liaise closely with employers throughout the programme; apprentices will have dedicated mentors to assist and guide them throughout the whole course of the apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship Standard

Alongside studying for their level 7 apprenticeship, successful apprentices will also be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management, and CMI professional accreditation after completing the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours of the apprenticeship standard. 

Read more

Employer information

Designed for employers who want their senior managers to strengthen their capabilities of managing complexity and delivering impact at a strategic level. With the knowledge gained from this course, your team will take responsibility for setting and delivering your organisational objectives through a wide range of functions.

Apprentices will use principles of problem-based and inquiry-led learning to demonstrate managerial effectiveness using skills such as critical thinking, negotiation, innovation and creativity. They will graduate as well-rounded leaders who by looking holistically across the business functions, will have the passion and drive to take your organisation to the next level. There is an optional additional two modules to top up learning to an MBA for an additional fee.

Download our Senior Leader Brochure


Successful apprentices of the programme will have positive impact in their organisations.

Apprentices will lead change in an inclusive and strategic way, will have a clear focus on achieving the diverse goals of their organisation, and be capable of influencing at Board or equivalent level. Externally, they will act as ambassadors for their organisation, building networks and relationships with clients, suppliers and statutory bodies.