New degree-level apprenticeship scheme for professional managers

27 March 2015

Proposals to develop a new degree-level apprenticeship in Chartered Management, which will boost the number of professional managers and drive up business performance across the UK, have been approved.

The creation of this new Level 6 Chartered Management Apprenticeship follows the Government’s announcement on 12 March that nine new industry-designed degree apprenticeships will be rolled out in areas including chartered surveying and aeronautical engineering.

Development of the new programme will be led by an employer group headed by international service company Serco, comprising many different types and sizes of organisation including Virgin Media, Barchester, One Stop, BBC, the Civil Service, Birmingham City Council, Kinnerton Confectionery, Opus Building Services *. This work is supported by CMI, the chartered professional body for management and leadership, and the Association of Business Schools through its network of Small Business Charter awarded schools and other members.

Commenting on this new apprenticeship route:

Lord Young, the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Adviser, said:

“I’m delighted this Government has supported the development of a proposed degree-level management apprenticeship, which will bring together the very best of higher education and work-based learning.

“Backed by industry, leading business schools and the professional body, this offers businesses and employers from all sectors a new route for ensuring they have highly skilled managers to help grow their businesses and boost the economy.  This has the potential to transform management education across the UK.”

Melanie Nicholson, Serco’s Director of Skills, said:

“Serco is very pleased to be the lead employer developing this new degree-level apprenticeship in management and leadership. We believe this approach provides a focused and targeted framework which fits with what employers and our economy needs and, most importantly, provides a fantastic opportunity that will put far more young people on the track to professional management careers.”

Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy at the CMI, said:

“This Chartered Apprenticeship offers a ground-breaking new route for raising the UK’s management performance through building the next generation of professional managers.  We are delighted that this brings to life the recommendations from all the employers and many others who contributed to last year’s Commission of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Management.

“From across our networks, we have over 120 employers already expressing interest in these new apprenticeships, showing that there is a huge appetite for raising management standards.  We now look forward to working with Serco, and the many leading employers and business schools who really appreciate what good management and leadership delivers and are all committed to making a difference to management as a profession.”

Anne Kiem, Chief Executive, at the Association of Business Schools, said:

“We believe this will be a game changing initiative for management education in the UK. By providing access to world class business schools, school leavers will have the opportunity to develop their management capabilities to a high level, and existing employees will be able to accelerate their pathway to management. Our members, including many who hold the Small Business Charter award, are incredibly well placed to collaborate with employers to integrate academic learning at degree level with on-the-job practical training. Through working with employers business schools will create an Apprenticeship genuinely responsive to employers needs and will deliver the next generation of managers to support the growth and competitiveness of our economy for years to come.”

The development of this new apprenticeship builds on the recommendations of the report “Management 2020: Leadership to Unlock Long-term Growth” (July 2014), following an inquiry set up by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Management, which took wide ranging evidence from over 200 employers on the management and leadership skills needed by employers for the future.  A key recommendation to Ministers was for the apprenticeships trailblazers to be expanded to include management, putting far more young people on the track to professional management careers. 

It is clear that the UK needs more professional management skills to help business growth, and currently there is not a clear national programme that meets this need.  At an individual level, very large organisations can afford to develop bespoke and tailored solutions working with existing providers, but this rarely meets the needs of SMEs.  As a result, at a national level the problem of poor management skills has been clearly identified:

•           CMI research identifies that poor management and leadership costs the UK economy over £19bn a year

•           64% of employers think that a lack of management skills is holding back growth

•           43% of UK managers rate their own line manager as ineffective, and only 1 in 5 are qualified

•           Incompetence or bad management causes 56% of business failures


In terms of solutions, and what works best for employers, detailed research carried out by the CMI, Association of Business Schools and the QAA showed the real value of experiential and work-based learning in developing the management and leadership skills that employers are seeking:

•           89% of employers believe that embedding work experience within courses would make students more employable

•           75% of employers seek professional qualifications to provide evidence of practical skills

•           and new research from across 500 Chartered Managers reveals that on average they deliver over £390k of added value to their organisation.


The apprenticeship trailblazer group will develop and deliver the framework for a new Level 6 (degree-level) Apprenticeship in Chartered Management.  The new national apprenticeship scheme will also incorporate the achievement of Chartered Manager status, the highest accreditation in professional management.




Employers, business schools and other organisations involved in Trailblazers


Management and Leadership – Led by employers, business schools and other organisations including Serco, Acivico, Agillisys, Anglo Educational Services, Association of Business Schools, Aston Business School, Balfour Beatty, Barchester, BBC, Birmingham City Council, Boots Opticians, BPP Business School, Bristol Business School, Chartered Management Institute, Civil Service, Codegent, Co-op, HMRC, Kinnerton Confectionery, Loughborough University School of Business and Economics, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, Nottingham Business School, NISA Retail, One Stop, Opus Building Services, Pearson, Salford Business School, Small Business Charter, Southampton Solent Business School, Strathclyde Business School, umi Digital, University College London, University of Bedfordshire Business School, University of Hertfordshire Business School, University of the West of Scotland School of Business & Enterprise, and Virgin Media.  This will develop the standard for a professional manager.