The Open University Senior Leader Apprenticeship provides current and future leaders and senior managers with high-level leadership and management skills, core competencies and desired behaviours to become more effective leaders.
Our Senior Leader Apprenticeship develops inclusive leaders who are responsible for developing ethical, innovative and supportive cultures with the ability to deliver results, manage complexity and instigate change. Apprentices receive high-quality higher education learning from our triple-accredited Business School and can instantly apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills into their working environment. The triple accreditation recognises the quality of our courses and teaching that is offered across the programme. Each of the awarding bodies, AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS exist to drive the highest possible standard across business education in the US, UK and Europe. This puts the OU amongst an elite 1% of business schools to have achieved this ‘triple crown’ status, reflecting the high standards of the course delivery; something that is recognised by employers internationally.
By supporting staff onto the SLA employers are provided with an opportunity to further develop and retain staff aligned to their future organisational learning and development needs and build a pipeline for the future.
A strategic leader is someone who has senior management responsibility, which may include formal governance or director responsibilities. They are responsible for setting strategy, direction and vision, for providing a clear sense of purpose and driving strategic intent.
The Senior Leader Apprenticeship is suitable for current and future senior leaders in organisations of all sizes in the private, public or third sectors. It is for new and existing employees who meet the funding requirements and are responsible for, or looking to progress into, managing projects, tasks or people and who will be gaining new skills, knowledge and behaviours as part of the apprenticeship.
Below is a summary of the eligibility criteria as set by the government for apprentices. For further information, see the Government funding rules.
To be eligible for government funding, at the start of the apprenticeship, apprentices must:
In addition to the eligibility criteria above applicants also need to satisfy the following academic, work experience and language entry requirements.
There are three ways to meet the academic requirements:
* Any OU microcredential that includes "Business Management" at the start of the title. See the microcredentials page for further information.
Various higher education and professional qualifications are considered equivalent to an honours degree. Please contact us if a prospective apprentice holds a qualification that you believe is an equivalent level to a degree.
Applicants will need to have gained a minimum of three years’ work experience in a managerial, technical or professional role, so that they have a practical business base from which to build their postgraduate learning.
Applicants' spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not their first language, we recommend that they need a minimum score of 6.5 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please visit ielts.org for details.
It is a requirement of the government funding of apprenticeships that if applicants cannot evidence (copies of certificates) that they have achieved English and maths at Level 2 or equivalent they will need to undertake Functional Skills at Level 2 as part of the apprenticeship.
Applicants will be required to show how they meet these requirements. This will include their CV and proof of qualifications, including English translations and NARIC/ENIC conversion of non-UK degrees as stipulated in the apprenticeship application guidance. Evaluation of the evidence will take place before applicants are accepted onto the programme.
The programme content and assessment strategy are mapped to the Senior Leader Apprenticeship standard. Find out more about the standard.
Modules in this programme include:
The programme content is designed for professionals from a wide range of backgrounds who need to engage with the challenges of 21st-century management and leadership. The apprenticeship helps leaders to develop skills and knowledge of management frameworks, theories and tools, and to use these appropriately to make a real difference to their own leadership practice.
Key areas covered are:
The apprenticeship is made up of the following eight components:
This initial assessment includes a skills scan, a mandatory systematic review of an apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours against the standard. This will be completed jointly by the apprentice and the line manager to establish the apprentice’s baseline against the standard and how much new learning is needed. It is used to develop the Training Plan part 2, a tailored individual learning plan, to help apprentices make the most of the apprenticeship.
The Open University also establishes whether the apprenticeship is an appropriate training programme for them. This assessment considers the whole standard, not just English and maths, which however is an important part of it.
The Open University also assesses whether the minimum eligibility requirements for off-the-job training are met and will set the duration of the apprentice contract dependent on prior learning.
Apprentices build an understanding of the key theories, skills and competencies to take their leadership and management capabilities to a higher level. Associate Lecturers (academic tutors) will facilitate study, support learning and feedback, and mark module assessments. English and maths Functional Skills tutors support the successful completion of these qualifications where an applicant is not able to provide evidence of prior attainment.
Provides the framework for apprentices to gather, collate and present a portfolio of evidence that meets the knowledge, skills and behaviours requirements of the apprenticeship standard. It provides the stimulating link between academic study and practice, often involving apprentices critically reflecting on their learning and working practices. This module is facilitated by Practice Tutors, who support learning and feedback, as well as mark the module assessments.
A record of evidence of apprentice’s application of knowledge, skills and behaviours in the workplace. The portfolio provides the means for demonstrating how apprentices have practically applied their newly acquired knowledge and skills to improve and extend their professional practice.
Line managers will have regular one-to-one meetings with their apprentices to ensure that the learning from the apprenticeship is fully integrated into their performance and development in the workplace. This is to ensure that the apprentice can create evidence against the requirements of the standard for the portfolio of evidence required for Gateway.
A 500-word document identifying a strategic objective/activity to be carried out by the senior leader. In this document they will identify its scope, rationale, stakeholders and timescales, including finance, and it requires formal approval from the apprentice’s line manager.
Gateway takes place before the EPA period can start. The employer and training provider will review their apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours to see if they have met the minimum requirements of the apprenticeship set out in the apprenticeship standard and are ready to take the assessment.
The EPA determines whether apprentices have successfully met the learning requirements of the Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard.
The EPA is carried out by an Institute for Apprenticeships approved independent assessment organisation and consists of a strategic business proposal, presentation with Q&A, portfolio and professional discussion.
Every successful apprentice will:
Achieving English and maths is a mandatory requirement of all apprenticeships.
Replacement exam certificate: For qualifications gained in the UK you can go to the government website to get a replacement exam certificate.
The Open University has the experience and support in place to help apprentices succeed and make a positive impact on practice.
In addition to designated account management support, the OU will deploy expert staff to support your organisation and your apprentices. They will work collaboratively with the relevant roles in your organisation:
The PT is a key role and provides individual support to apprentices to progress and complete all the requirements of the apprenticeship or professional programme they have enrolled in. The support is tailored to the context of each learner’s professional duties and their workplace environment. Regular engagement with each learner’s line manager or work-based supervisor is a critical component of this role. In addition, the PT coaches the apprentice to integrate their academic learning with their professional work, guide them in the development of their portfolio and prepares them for their end-point assessment.
There are further roles and teams that support both apprentices and employers, and that work very closely with the PTs.
The role of the Academic Tutor is to support success by using, interpreting and building on the teaching resources produced by the OU and provided to apprentices. They monitor progression, mark assignments, provide personalised feedback and work in partnership to support the apprentices’ academic, personal and professional development. In addition, Academic Tutors provide pastoral support to apprentices. They are sometimes also referred to as Associate Lecturers or Module Tutors.
The AEST supports apprentices throughout their Apprenticeship journey. This team of friendly Senior Advisors can offer advice and support for a range of queries apprentices may have whilst studying their modules, whether that be for advice on an upcoming assignment or exam, navigation around the OU online learning platforms or when they are experiencing difficult circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. This support team is able to reach out to a wide range of relevant teams within the University to help apprentices get back on track again.
This team is made up of English and/or maths specialist tutors and support staff. They work with apprentices who are required to achieve English and/or maths qualifications during their apprenticeship. These specialist tutors are able to provide one-to-one support in areas of challenge and to help prepare the apprentice for the formal qualification tests.
This role supports employers to recruit and onboard applicants on to the chosen apprenticeship programme. APDMs provide information, advice and guidance and carry out an initial assessment to ensure the apprenticeship is the right one at the right level for the individual. APDMs provide quarterly management information reports to employers detailing learners progress and put interventions in place where an apprentice is in need of support. Employers will have a named APDM to be the primary contact for apprenticeship delivery throughout the programme.
This is a person in the workplace who supports the choice of apprenticeship programme for their employee or applicant and is involved in the onboarding process with their applicant. Line managers or Apprentice Supervisors facilitate the apprentice to take off-the-job planned hours and they fully engage in quarterly progress review meetings with the Practice Tutor and apprentice. Line managers have regular one-to-one meetings with their apprentices to integrate the apprenticeship into performance and development. They are fundamental in enabling apprentices to successfully produce their strategic business proposal and complete their end-point assessment.
Using The Open University’s tried-and-trusted educational technology, our programmes are delivered flexibly around apprentices’ personal lives and the demands of your organisation.
The tutor-supported online learning is both varied and interactive, with multiple rich media formats that engage and enthuse apprentices on their journey. Learning can be accessed 24/7 on computers, tablets and mobile devices, so apprentices can study at home, work and on the move. Online tutorials, forums and discussion groups allow apprentices to learn from different industries and backgrounds.
An apprenticeship is a job with a formal programme of training which meets the requirements of the Apprenticeship Standard (in England), Framework (in Wales). The time that employers must allocate to this training can vary between programmes. The planned training hours will be detailed in the Training Plan. Note that in England and Wales, this time is called 'off-the-job training' in England and in Scotland, it is called 'protected time'. This is time for the apprentice to engage in the learning with the OU during their contracted working hours.
For full guidance visit: Gov.uk.
The Open University’s flexible, blended learning approach makes it a lot easier for employers to effectively manage off-the-job training, while minimising the impact on productivity in the workplace.
Are you an employee interested in applying for an apprenticeship?
To apply you first need to gain approval from your employer. Please contact your organisation with an expression of interest. If your employer is happy to support your application, they will then contact us.
The process for employers to follow is:
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We’re an Approved/Appointed Supplier on a large number of national frameworks and dynamic purchasing systems. See which frameworks are available to procure this programme through.
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Apprentices who successfully complete the programme will gain:
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For a more detailed look at our Senior Leader Apprenticeship, download our brochure.
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