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Senior Leader Apprenticeship

Fully funded professional development for current and aspiring senior leaders – with optional pathways to a full Executive MBA or Masters degree.

Develop your strategic leadership capabilities through our new Senior Leader Apprenticeship, with learning that has impact on practice from day one.

You will advance your practice of leadership, learn how to get the best from your team through talent management and nurturing high performance, embrace strategic thinking and behaviour, gain vital knowledge on ethical and sustainable practices, and develop management of innovation and change.

Your studies are tailored to meet Senior Leader Apprenticeship standards and will lead to a Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Practice. Tuition fees are funded through the Apprenticeship Levy.

Our digital delivery means you will learn flexibly, to fit around workplace realities, while gaining new knowledge and skills that can be applied in your professional role. Residential workshops provide in-person interaction and learning alongside a valuable network of fellow apprentices from diverse sectors and organisations.

Apprentices learn alongside our Executive MBA students, and upon successful completion of the Senior Leader Apprenticeship, you can choose to top-up to Lancaster University’s Executive MBA or Leadership Practice MSc. This requires a further six months' study, to be completed within five years of completion of the Apprenticeship, and with fees paid separately.

For more information on our Senior Leader Apprenticeship programme, please register your interest.

Key Facts

Case Studies

Programme Content 

All members of the Senior Leader Apprenticeship Programme will benefit from:

  • Facilitated and flexible digital learning that works alongside your professional role;
  • 12 days of in-person teaching in four blocks across the two years, supplemented by optional in-person and blended delivery;
  • Individual one-to-one support from a university apprenticeship mentor and an academic learning coach;
  • Modules delivered by experienced practitioner-teachers;
  • Peer-learning within and across organisational boundaries;
  • Study support for students new to higher education, or those returning to HE after a long break.
  • Access to Lancaster University amenities, including the Library, Careers, health and wellbeing services and sports facilities.

Course Duration

The full Senior Leader Apprenticeship programme takes two years, including an End Point Assessment. Some participants may complete the Apprenticeship more quickly by claiming module exemption based on previous academic, professional or experiential learning.

The next programme will start in September 2022

The optional Executive MBA or Leadership Practice MSc top-up pathways require a further six months of study, to be completed within five years of completion of the Senior Leader Apprenticeship.

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship allows aspiring and existing managers and leaders to realise their full potential. These leaders will develop skills and gain knowledge to help them be the best leader they can be. Organisations tell us how leaders who complete an apprenticeship use their learning to bring about organisational transformation, and provide benefits in the immediate and long term.

A quote from Senior Leader Apprenticeship Scheme Director Yvonne Hoggarth

Entry and Apply

Entry Requirements

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship is suitable for current and aspiring senior leaders in public, private or third sector organisations. You will typically have a first degree and a minimum of 3 years’ management/leadership experience. Admission to the programme is dependent on aptitude and experience; prior qualifications are not always necessary.

A minimum of Grade C/4 in GCSE English and mathematics (or Functional Skills Level 2 equivalent).*

Admission to the Executive MBA pathway requires a first degree and five years’ relevant management/leadership experience.

* Applicants who do not meet the maths/English entry requirements will be considered on a case by case basis, for exceptional entry. If admitted, Apprentices must achieve Functional Skills Level 2 in both subjects by the end of the programme.


The £14,000 fee for the Senior Leader Apprenticeship is funded through the Apprenticeship Levy.

Organisations with an annual payroll of more than £3 million pay 0.5% of their payroll into the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, which they can use to fully fund apprenticeship training costs. Smaller organisations can also benefit, as the Government will subsidise 90% of apprenticeship costs for organisations that do not pay into the levy.

If you have further questions about your organisation’s eligibility for the levy, please contact us.

Fees for the optional Executive MBA pathway are £11,000, and for the Masters in Leadership Practice £3,000 (if completed within one year of completing the Senior Leader Apprenticeship). These are not eligible for the Apprenticeship Levy.

Start Dates

The programme will start in September 2022. Applications must be submitted by 30 June 2022.

To discover more about the programme, please make an enquiry or join one of our upcoming information sessions.


Join one of our upcoming information sessions.

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Learning while Leading

Leaders often find themselves in leadership roles with little prior experience or training to prepare them to take charge. Our Apprentice Partnership Director, Dr Paul Irvine, explains how these leaders can learn a lot from programmes like the Senior Leader Apprenticeship while leading.

Learning while Leading

Contact us today to enquire about the Senior Leader Apprenticeship programme

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