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PGDip (Postgraduate Diploma) Management Practice

A senior leader apprenticeship focusing on strategic leadership development and fully funded through the apprenticeship levy.

This part-time, blended learning programme includes a postgraduate diploma and practically applies insight to real business and organisational issues.

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The programme

The part-time blended learning postgraduate diploma is a senior leader apprenticeship (Level 7) accredited programme from The University of Manchester. The taught element takes place over 24 months, with up to four additional months to complete the End Point Assessment. Both parts must be undertaken to successfully complete the apprenticeship.

Who is the programme for?

The Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice has been designed especially for strategic leaders in the private, public or third sector who are responsible for delivering results.

What are the benefits for me and for my organisation?

By using apprenticeship levy funding for this programme, companies can cost-effectively develop managers and leaders to build successful, sustainable and profitable businesses for the future. This will help employers to develop more confident and agile leaders and attract new talent.

What topics will I study?

There are eight core units which drive personal and organisational impact. Each has been designed and convened by a Unit Director from our Alliance MBS faculty to meet the required knowledge, skills and behaviours for the apprenticeship. The Unit Director or a different member of the programme team delivers the teaching on each unit. Please explore the programme in detail below.

View the programme architecture >>

View the programme top-up to MSc (non-levy funded) >>

Our Experts - Paul Evans
Unit Director - Dr Paul Evans
Senior Lecturer in Leadership Development

Content themes include:

  • Leadership perspectives, practice and becoming reflexive
  • Leading complexity, culture and context
  • Leading and following: agency, power and resistance
  • Doing things right: ethics and leadership practice

Our Experts - Irene Roele
Unit Director: Irene Roele
Senior Fellow in Management and Programme Director

Content themes include:

  • The strategic agenda in a global context
  • External forces at work: industry dynamics and digital dimensions
  • Internal forces at work: developing dynamic capabilities
  • Customer dynamics: the marketing agenda

Julian Jones
Unit Director: Julian Jones
Lecturer in Accounting

Content themes include:

  • Principles of financial strategy/management in business systems
  • Exploring the drivers of value in organisations
  • Evaluation of risk and return in the management of services

Mike Kennard
Unit Director: Dr Mike Kennard
Senior Lecturer in Strategy & Innovation

Content themes include:

  • Innovation and entrepreneurship: why it matters
  • Creating and managing innovative and entrepreneurial environments
  • Innovation through collaboration
  • Opportunities and threats: globalisation and disruptive technologies 

Our Experts - David Lowe
Unit Director: Dr David Lowe
Senior Lecturer in Commercial Management and Academic Lead for Apprenticeships

Content themes include:

  • Foundations of commercial relationships
  • Managing risk and opportunity
  • Commercially driven decision making
  • Influencing supplier/partner behaviour
  • Applying rigorous and consistent commercial process and procedures 

Alec Waterworth
Unit Director: Dr Alec Waterworth
Senior Lecturer in Project Management

Content themes include:

  • Project owner roles and dynamic capabilities
  • Project-based firms and operational capabilities
  • Project leadership
  • Governing the delivery organisations

panos constantinides profile
Unit Director: Prof. Panos Constantinides 
Professor of Digital Innovation and Digital Learning Lead for Executive Education

Content themes include:

  • Platform ecosystems
  • Digitisation and digitalisation
  • Digital markets and data
  • Digital labour platforms and the future of work
  • Policy implications for platform ecosystems 

Our Experts - Irene Roele    Our Experts - Paul Evans
Unit Directors: Irene Roele & Dr Paul Evans 
Senior Fellow in Management & Programme Director
Senior Lecturer in Leadership Development

Content themes include:

  • Reviewing your personal and professional development
  • Constructing a portfolio of evidence
  • Developing a strategic business proposal
  • Mapping impact across the SLA
  • Peer review and critical reflection

On completing Unit 8, students meet the majority of requirements to proceed to the End Point Assessment (EPA) stage. 

You have up to 12 weeks to produce a business proposal with your employer and the end point assessor organisation for the course.

On submission of the proposal, students go forward to the EPA which is composed of two parts:

  • A professional discussion based on evidence submitted in the portfolio demonstrating all the Senior Leader Apprenticeship standards
  • Presentation of you strategic business proposal. 

Students who complete the Postgraduate Diploma with no less than a 50% pass rate in any unit have the option to top up to an MSc Management Practice. The MSc requirements include:

  • An additional 60 credit unit taken over a maximum of six months
  • 7500 word individual impact project, building on the work you undertake on the End Point Assessment
  • Surrender of your postgraduate diploma qualification. 

This is not accessible for apprenticeship levy funding. The additional cost of £4000 can be paid by yourself or your employer. 


Key information

Up to 28 months (part-time blended learning)
Class time
25 days: one induction day + eight x three-day course units
Alliance Manchester Business School or onsite for in-house cohorts
Minimum professional experience
Three-five years' management experience (with strong and consistent career progression and achievement)
Entry requirements
First or Upper Second class honours degree (2:1) plus three years' management experience (with strong and consistent career progression and achievement)


Five years' management experience (with strong and consistent career progression and achievement), plus interview with the programme director.

*English and Maths GCSE at grade C or above, or equivalent qualification, are also required to successfully complete the senior leader apprenticeship. Alliance MBS will support you in gaining the qualifications if you do not already have them.

A Postgraduate Diploma awarded by The University of Manchester

Senior leadership apprenticeship (level 7)

Professional accreditation from the end-point assessor organisation


Our Experts - David Lowe

The key benefit or the return on investment is the opportunity to upskill your capability; to give you the headspace to think about real issues you are facing.

— David Lowe, Academic Lead for Apprenticeships

How you benefit

The PG Diploma Management Practice has been specifically designed to align closely with day-to-day roles: underpinning your working practice with a solid understanding of contemporary management and leadership theory, and the senior leader apprenticeship embedded throughout.

  • Personalise your development through an emphasis on reflective practice, psychometrics and coaching
  • Focus learning though practical, work-based modules, applying new knowledge and skills to real business and organisational issues through reflective practice papers
  • Build your confidence to ask difficult questions and make informed decisions
  • Individualised assessment approach allows you to focus on the challenges you face as a professional leader
  • Equip yourself with strategic leadership skills to support your organisation’s performance and long-term sustainability
  • Improve your management and leadership skills by combining work and study, with 20% of time spent off the job undertaking the course and relevant development activities
  • Upskill your project management capability
  • Develop confidence and agility as a leader
  • Gain up to nine points of impact on you, your team and your organisation
  • Network and learn from fellow students from a wide range of sectors and backgrounds


Jonathan Patterson

I took on the role of Managing Director nearly two years ago and, previous to that, it’s been ten years since I’ve done any kind of education so I figured it was exactly the right time to come back and brush up on new theories, get new content and figure out how I apply that to my job.

— Jonathan Patterson, Managing Director, DWF Ventures

Participant profile

Level 7 senior leadership apprenticeships are for professional strategic leaders in the private, public or third sector who are responsible for delivering results through:

  • Direction and vision
  • Identifying long term opportunities and risks
  • Shaping innovative and supportive cultures

Since launching in 2019, our Management Practice apprenticeship programmes have attracted:

  • 120+ employers
  • 190+ learners (54% private sector / 43% public sector / 3% third sector)

Previous apprenticeship learners at Alliance MBS have job roles including Operations Manager, Finance Manager, HR Manager, Senior Project Engineer, Director, Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director and Partner.

Professionals from a range of sectors and backgrounds, including engineering, law, healthcare, leisure and manufacturing, work together on our multi-organisational programmes. Companies can also choose to commission an in-house programme, dependent upon student numbers. 

Laura Mason

It will help with some areas that I need to develop in order for me to progress within my career. It allows me to do this as part of my full-time job.

— Laura Mason, Senior Client Services Manager, Marketing Manchester

Our experienced team

Our highly experienced apprenticeship team are here to advise and support you throughout your time with us. From helping to guide you through the application process to keeping you focused on your business challenge, they aim to make your experience as stress free, focused and relevant as possible.

Our Experts - David Lowe
Dr David Lowe
Academic Lead for Apprenticeships

David Lowe is Senior Lecturer in Commercial Management and the Head of Learning Solutions, Executive Education. As Academic Lead for Apprenticeships, he is responsible for all of Alliance MBS’s apprenticeship programmes and processes.

Our Experts - Irene Roele
Irene Roele
Programme Director

Irene Roele is Senior Fellow in Management and Programme Director on the Postgraduate Diploma Management Practice. As Programme Director, she is responsible for the academic content and processes of the Postgraduate Diploma.

Kate Julian
Kate Julian
Practice-based Tutor

As practice-based tutor, Kate guides students through their portfolio development, conducting regular progress reviews with student and mentor. She delivers face-to-face and online coaching sessions throughout the two-year course, focusing on individual leadership development. 

Steve Priddis
Steve Priddis
Practice-based Tutor

As practice-based tutor, Steve guides students through their portfolio development, conducting regular progress reviews with student and mentor. He delivers face-to-face and online coaching sessions throughout the two-year course, focusing on individual leadership development.

Hayley Atkinson
Hayley Atkinson
Instructional Designer & Learning Technologist

Hayley looks after students’ online learning platforms and supports the programme virtually.

A bank of online elements allows students to attend modules better prepared, with ideas, questions and new approaches and challenges already forming.

Our Team - Jill Ingham
Dr Jill Ingham
Client Relations Manager, Apprenticeships

Jill is the first point of contact if you are interested in applying for the course. She will answer any questions you may have and support you with your application.

Enquiries and applications: Email Jill >> | 07769 294081

Our Team - Victoria Mansfield
Victoria Mansfield
Degree Apprenticeships Manager

As Degree Apprenticeship Manager, Victoria is responsible for all the processes and procedures required to deliver apprenticeship programmes at Alliance Manchester Business School.

Frequently asked questions


About the PGDip Management Practice

You will be able to access the virtual learning environment from 1 September. The Programme Immersion Day will take place on 7 September 2021. 

Yes, you have up to five years from starting the programme to complete the top-up unit.

The work-based mentor supports the student within the organisation during their time on the apprenticeship, attends quarterly online meetings, and arranges any specific experience needed by the student.

The work-based mentor may be a member of the board or a suitable business associate as agreed with the Programme Director. The University may wish to speak to your identified work-based mentor during the application process to discuss how the employer will be able to support your training.

The application process

For full details, see the 'Who can be funded?' section in the Apprenticeship funding rules and guidance for employers.

Applicants must spend at least 50% of their work hours in England. Exceptions apply for some apprentices whose occupation involves significant travel outside of the UK – see E355 of the Apprenticeship funding rules and guidance for employers.

Yes, as long as it is not a master’s qualification in a related topic such as business, management or leadership.

ESFA funding rules state “English and Maths are essential to supporting longer-term career prospects. This is why all apprentices must be supported to gain these essential skills and secure recognised qualifications.”

All apprentices must evidence that they have achieved Level 2 Functional Skills in English and Maths by the end of their apprenticeship. This is equivalent to Grade A-C (4-9) at GCSE; other qualifications may also be accepted as equivalent – we can advise whether your prior qualifications are accepted by the ESFA.

You can undertake the Functional Skills course during the programme.

You can request a replacement certificate from your exam board. See for details.

Yes – please get in touch. We will need to know how many hours per week you work to determine whether you should apply for our part-time route.

Yes, both references can be from within the same organisation.

Paying for the PGDip Management Practice

The cost is £14,000 per place, fully funded via the apprenticeship levy scheme if your organisation is a levy payer. If not, you can apply to the levy scheme for 95% of the funding and you pay 5% (£700) – this is called co-investment.

Please note that if your organisation’s levy account has insufficient funds to cover the fee in any given month, co-investment rules will apply for the shortfall.

We draw from your organisation’s levy pot, which sits in the government’s Apprenticeship Service department.

Non-levy paying organisations will be invoiced directly for the 5% co-investment.


Yes, an individual student can pay the MSc top-up in an agreed payment plan.

During the programme

There is a 3,000-word individual reflective practice paper and also a 40-minute group presentation for the first 7 units. The assessment for unit 8 consists of ensuring that the portfolio is complete and also writing a 500-word outline for the strategic business proposal. 

The programme is blended, meaning a combination of online tutorials online and 2.5 day classroom workshops – one for each unit. Under current Covid restrictions, the programme is delivered entirely online.

The Programme Immersion Day and workshops are delivered in our Executive Education Centre, which is next to Alliance Manchester Business School on our Oxford Road campus. Under current Covid restrictions, the programme is delivered entirely online.

Yes, and you may only be absent for one day on a unit workshop.

20% of a 35-hour contracted week means 7 hours on average per week in work time. We recommend at least an extra 5 hours per week in personal time.

Your employer must commit to giving you 20% of your standard working hours for ‘off-the-job’ study. This can be managed flexibly over the duration of your programme – it doesn’t have to be exactly the same amount of time each week.

Yes, it is possible to get an exemption. You will need to seek this exemption as part of your application.

Changing circumstances

You can transfer your place to another employer and continue studying, providing they agree. If you move to a non-levy paying organisation, you can arrange to pay the remaining fee yourself or via your new organisation.

You may take a break in learning. Arrangements for returning to the apprenticeship would vary depending upon the stage you’re at in the programme and the length of your break. It is often possible to pick up at the same point in the programme with a subsequent cohort, subject to availability.

Yes, you can take a break in learning for the duration of your maternity leave.