- IfATE Level 7 Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship
- MSc Systems Thinking in the Public Sector
- Eligibility for SCiO Advanced Professional Qualification in Systems Practice
- This course is for mid- to senior-level public sector staff engaged with addressing complex and cross-disciplinary challenges
- Designed in collaboration with employers from across the public sphere, the course addresses real-world complex public challenges through applied systems-thinking approaches
- Apprentices study a wide range of topics such as cross-disciplinary problem-solving, public sector leadership and ethics, and engaging stakeholders
- A problem-orientated learning by-doing approach that trains the apprentice to address collaboratively complex and urgent challenges
- Apprentices will develop their professional network and collaborate with other organisations to solve real-world challenges
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Upon successful completion of the programme apprentices will be eligible for the Advanced Professional Qualification in Systems Practice award.
Either a first degree in any subject and/or a minimum of three years’ work experience. Level 2 Maths and English will need to be evidenced prior to end-point assessment (EPA).
Individual employers may set additional selection criteria in discussion with the University.
The apprentice must 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 will already hold a post with their employer and continue working for them throughout the duration of this apprenticeship. Candidates will need to speak to their HR department and/or their manager to gain sign off to undertake this apprenticeship.
Once the employer agrees for the candidate to go on the apprenticeship, the candidate will then be required undertake an application for the University. If successful, applicants will be offered a position. Their place will be confirmed by us, and we will send further information about how to enrol as an apprentice.
Full programme cost: £18,000
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 you must meet the criteria listed in the ESFA guidance. Full guidance is available here.
- The apprentice must have a valid and eligible residency status to gain entry onto the apprenticeship – please see the ESFA guidance for further information.
The public sphere is an increasingly complex and entangled space: departments and laboratories face challenges that transcend traditional organisational boundaries, and which can only be met by staff working across departments and intellectual disciplines. This programme offers a deep and broad immersion in interdisciplinarity and the challenges of contemporary public service.
Throughout the course apprentices will:
- Gain skills in cross-disciplinary problem-solving; delivering services under complexity, risk and uncertainty; and public sector leadership and ethics
- Receive instruction in the latest theory for systems approaches and methods across a variety of modules including ‘Interdisciplinarity in the Public Sphere’, ‘Systems Thinking in Theory and Practice’, ‘Leadership in Public Organisations’ and ‘Stakeholders in Systems Approaches’
- Complement their learning in taught modules with two work-based practice modules, which give the apprentice the opportunity to put their new taught skills and learning into practice in addressing a problem or challenge area that would benefit from a systems approach and matters to their home organisation
- Gain practical experiences of using key systems approaches in the public sphere, including the ‘Soft-system methodology’, ‘Critical systems heuristics’, ‘Patterns of strategy’ and others
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:
- Face-to-face masterclasses – approximately 12 intensive teaching days over 24 months
- Weekly distance learning – comprising of online classes and workshops, interactive exercises and webinars
- Two major work-based practice modules - these projects are agreed upon with the employer and can either be based solely within the apprentice's organisation or cross-organisational.
- Apprentices are allocated a workplace mentor and an academic mentor to help ensure their successful completion of the programme.
Taught modules consist of three teaching days of up to five hours of taught content of individual and group remote learning, plus additional time given for reading and discussion.
Alongside working towards their professional qualification in Systems Practice awarded from the SCiO (Systems and Complexity in Organisation) and their level 7 apprenticeship; gained after completing the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours of the apprenticeship standard; apprentices will also be studying for an MSc Systems Thinking in the Public Sector.
This programme aligns with the Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard.
Addressing the needs of public sector employers
The Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship has been designed to focus on the needs of public employers for meeting complex systems challenges in the 21st Century.
By the end of the programme the apprentice will have developed their knowledge and skills in a variety of key areas, including: cross-disciplinary problem solving; evidence-based practice; stakeholder analysis methods; stakeholder engagement, interventions, and management; and applied soft systems theory. Equipped with the tools of systems thinking, apprentices will be better able to tackle complex contemporary challenges and add lasting value to their organisation.
The University’s Careers Service provides a range of support to help apprentices develop skills attractive to employers. Visit our careers service pages for more information.
Do you have staff engaged with addressing complex and cross-disciplinary challenges across your organisation that you’re looking to develop their skills and knowledge? This programme has been designed to offer training in systems thinking methodologies, leadership and ethics, evidence-based practice, stakeholder analysis and ultimately the skills and experiences for delivering services under complexity, risk and uncertainty.
Apprentices will receive instruction in the latest theory for systems approaches and methods across a variety of modules including. They will gain practical experiences of using key systems approaches in the public sphere - including the ‘Soft-system methodology’, ‘Critical systems heuristics’, ‘Patterns of strategy’ and others. These theory-led modules are combined with work-based projects where apprentices get to use the new skills and learning on practical real-world challenges both within your workplace.
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