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Senior Leader Apprenticeship Postgraduate Diploma Senior Leadership

A Senior Leader Apprenticeship focusing on strategic leadership development and funded through the Apprenticeship Levy, with an optional Masters (MSc) in Senior Leadership.

This part-time, blended learning programme provides aspiring senior leaders with new knowledge and skills to advance their career, and includes a postgraduate diploma.

Watch our recent webinar to find out more >>

View our brochure  Enquire  Eligibility checker

Programme content

This programme helps aspiring middle and senior level leaders develop the Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviours to further advance their career and lead to a level of excellence recognised nationally by the Senior Leader Standard.

There are eight core units which drive personal growth and organisational impact.

Each module explores key perennial leadership themes with contemporary leadership challenges, informed by leading research and theory, delivered by world class lecturers.

The content in each unit links to specific Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviours within the Senior Leader Apprenticeship standard.

Through the online learning, apprentice learners will be directed to undertake work-based activities, from which they will generate evidence of how they demonstrate the apprenticeship standards, which will form part of their professional portfolio.

This delivers greater leadership impact for the individual, their team, and their organisation. Please explore the programme modules below or view the programme architecture >>

15 credits

This unit focuses on how leaders can be authentic, relevant and create a conducive and inclusive culture for organisation performance to support sustainable growth in a post-pandemic era.

You will learn how to develop your leadership identity and leverage your personal brand to influence key stakeholders, create a culture of collaboration, challenge more effectively, support high performing teams and turn strategy into action through inclusive, effective, and inspirational communication.


15 credits

This unit draws on related fields of strategy, culture, and marketing to explain the fundamental drivers of organisation performance to deliver differentiation and growth.

You will learn to how to utilise strategic models, marketing, and brand to understand challenges, scan the strategic horizon, map external opportunities to internal capabilities, identify strategic choices and formulate appropriate strategies.


15 credits

This unit focuses on the strategic priorities of workforce planning, skilling, employee engagement, remote working, equality, diversity and inclusion, and employee resilience in light of the pandemic.

You will understand how the pandemic has changed organisations’ business models and people's jobs and the impact that has on strategic workforce planning, employee motivation, job performance, team dynamics and engagement.

You will also learn how to build an open and an inclusive culture, encouraging diversity and difference, promoting wellbeing enabling a high-performance working environment.


15 credits

The unit focuses on the importance of embracing disruptive technologies and utilising big data to support resilience in a global digital era.

You will learn how to develop the skills and capabilities needed to meet the leadership challenges posed by innovation and entrepreneurship and to identify drivers of organisational change, including big data, and how to lead change in the workplace.


15 credits

This unit outlines the importance of the role of finance as part of a business strategy to achieve sustainable growth.

You will gain an understanding of how to combine financial accounting and management accounting with economic theory, financial modelling, and supply and demand to underpin financial strategies.

You will also learn to analyse and interpret financial statements, risk management, financial ratios and challenge the financial assumptions underpinning strategies. Finally, you will learn to embrace financial governance and support internal ethical standards and compliance with external standards.


15 credits

This unit focuses on the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion, corporate integrity, and good governance for sustainable growth and managing brand reputation.

You will learn how to leverage business ethics, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and environmental social governance to address strategic challenges facing organisations with respect to eco-innovation sustainable consumption and the UK Net Carbon Zero by 2050 target.


15 credits

In this unit, you will reflect on your apprenticeship journey and demonstrate your competence against the occupational standard using workplace examples, and ultimately, prepare for your professional discussion at End Point Assessment (EPA).

You will complete a leadership personality psychometric tool and analyse results to create a personal development plan to guide your development as a senior leader throughout the programme, commence a portfolio of evidence against the Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviours in the Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard, and undertake an oral presentation in relation to the development of the portfolio of evidence to date.

You will be required to draw together your learnings and personal development from previous units and consider the organisational impact you have made as a result.

Completion of this unit will enable you to confidently progress onto Stage Two of your personal and professional practice journey.


15 credits

During this unit you will undertake a critical reflection of your apprenticeship journey. This includes a formal presentation which provides experience of, and preparation for, the various assessment methods in final End Point Assessment (EPA).

You will complete your portfolio of evidence demonstrating the various Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviours within the Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard. This portfolio is an essential component which will directly contribute to the EPA process.

Completion of this unit will enable you to move towards Gateway (point between apprenticeship training and EPA), EPA and on to successful completion of your Senior Leader Apprenticeship.


Key information


Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship
Postgraduate Diploma Senior Leadership awarded by The University of Manchester
Professional recognition award MCGI (Member City and Guilds Institute)
Member of the Institute of Leadership and Management

6 x group presentation
6 x individual assignments
Personal development plan
Analysis of personal development journey
Portfolio of evidence plus oral presentation
Strategic business proposal: applying your learning to real world change project
Portfolio review and professional discussion at End Point Assessment
Optional Masters (MSc) Pathway: Dissertation
Face-to-face workshops, group learning, reflective discussion, one-to-one coaching, self-guided study
Personal tutor: university support for learning
Work-based mentor: employer support for learning
A minimum of 6 hours per week off-the-job learning: protected time
Online learning platform: online learning materials


Kate Julian

"It can be daunting when you first start off on the programme. There’s a lot to think about, so it’s important to know you will be well supported throughout your development journey."

— Dr Kate Julian, Programme Director

How you benefit

The programme 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 a minimum of 6 hours per week spent off the job undertaking the course and relevant development activities
  • Upskill your project management capability
  • Develop confidence and agility as a leader
  • Network and learn from fellow apprentice learners from a wide range of sectors and backgrounds
Oliver Stratton

"The programme focused on applying theory and concepts to real-life situations in my business, and helped address a myriad of challenges as my business has evolved its strategy and business model over the last 3 years."

— Oliver Stratton, CEO, Arrow Professional Services

Teaching and learning

What makes the Senior Leader Apprenticeship Postgraduate Diploma Senior Leadership different is the support provided to learners throughout their development journey.

Your personal tutor provides the academic and pastoral support needed for this programme. Consistency is key, which is why you keep the same tutor throughout the programme. The tutor supports you through:

  • Coaching, leadership and personal development
  • Feedback and marking practice for work-based assignments
  • Online facilitation and communication
  • Detailed understanding of the programme content
  • Regular progress reviews in partnership with the employer and work-based mentor

The role of the work-based mentor is essential in providing the work-based support you will need for this programme. You will need to work with your employer to identify a suitable mentor to support you throughout the programme. Your work-based mentor will:

  • Provide advocacy, support and sponsorship for you within the organisation
  • Give input and support for progress reviews
  • Ensure you are supported with a minimum of 6 hours of off the job learning
  • Validate the submission of evidence of work based competencies
  • Approve and support your choice of work project
  • Contribute to the readiness for end point assessment

The online learning platform is an interactive online platform, which supports you throughout the programme. The online learning platform is where you can find all the resources you'll need, including: e-learning nuggets, simulation events, webinars, videos, psychometric assessments, surveys, electronic journals and books, tutorial and discussion boards, learning journals and social networks.

To help support your learning and progress, you will attend a review with your personal tutor and work-based mentor every 8 weeks. During these meetings, you have the chance to review what has been achieved and set goals for the next 2 months.

The University uses APTEM, for both processing applications and the management of the apprenticeship learning experience. APTEM enables apprentice learners and their employers to have their applications, enrolment and learning logged and tracked on one system whilst complying with apprenticeship standards. After application, APTEM continues throughout the apprenticeship journey, alongside other classroom, blended delivery and online learning. You will build your apprenticeship portfolio inside APTEM throughout the programme.

There are 6 face-to-face behavioural development workshops during the course of the programme. You will also have individual and group tutorials over the duration of the programme. These will take place either online, by telephone or face-to-face.

Unit 1

10 weeks | 15 credits

3,000-word assignment plus 1 x group presentation

Unit 2

10 weeks | 15 credits

3,000-word assignment plus 1 x group presentation

Unit 3

10 weeks | 15 credits

3,000-word assignment plus 1 x group presentation

Unit 4

10 weeks | 15 credits

3,000-word assignment plus 1 x group presentation

Unit 5

10 weeks | 15 credits

3,000-word assignment plus 1 x group presentation

Unit 6

10 weeks | 15 credits

3,000-word assignment plus 1 x group presentation

Unit 7

20 weeks | 15 credits

1500-word personal development plan, 1500-word portfolio of evidence plus 1000-word oral presentation

Unit 8

20 weeks | 15 credits

1000-word analysis of personal development journey, 1500-word portfolio of evidence, plus 1500-word oral presentation


500-word summary of strategic business proposal

End-point assessment

4,000-word strategic business proposal, portfolio review & professional discussion

MSc Unit

6 months

2500-word dissertation proposal, 7500-word written dissertation


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.

Your day-to-day involvement with the programme team will guide you through the apprenticeship processes and support your learning throughout the course of your time with us.

Kate Julian

Dr Kate Julian
Programme Director

As Programme Director, Kate is responsible for the academic content and processes of the postgraduate diploma and senior leader apprenticeship.

Our Team - Jill Ingham

Dr Jill Ingham
Client Relations Manager, Apprenticeship Programmes

Jill is the first point of contact if you are interested in applying for the programme. She will answer any questions you may have and support you with your application.
Enquiries and applications: Email Jill >> | 07769 294081


Fees and funding

Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship: £14,000 (funded by the apprenticeship levy)

Optional Masters (MSc) in Senior Leadership: £4,000 (non-levy funded)

Apprenticeship funding for employers

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship Postgraduate Diploma Senior Leadership can be funded using the Apprenticeship Levy.


Entry requirements

A degree is not an essential requirement for entry on to the course as there are different routes to apply:

  1. A First or Upper Second class honours degree (2:1) plus three years’ management experience (with strong and consistent career progression and achievement).

  2. A Lower Second or Third class degree or equivalent professional qualification plus five years’ management experience (with strong and consistent career progression and achievement).

  3. No degree, but five years’ management experience (with strong and consistent career progression and achievement).

All routes require GCSE Maths and English at grade C or above or equivalent qualification*.

*If you do not have GCSE English and Maths grade C or equivalent, you can still join the programme and undertake the equivalent Functional Skills course during the programme.

Participant profile

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship Postgraduate Diploma Senior Leadership is for middle to senior level leaders who are:

  • Aspiring to take on a more senior leadership role and increase their organisational impact
  • Ready and committed to developing their leadership skills and behaviours whilst undertaking an academic qualification
  • Motivated by the opportunity to apply new skills, learning and behaviours directly to real-time work related improvements

Previous apprentices 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. 

How to apply

If you want to apply, please complete the following steps:

Step 1 - Talk with your employer, both your line manager and apprenticeship lead, provide them with details on this programme and make sure that you have their approval before you apply.

Step 2 - Complete the online eligibility checker, which will give you an indication as to whether you are eligible for funding.

Step 3 - Assuming you are eligible, please use the "book a consultation" form to speak to a member of our team where we can review your eligibility and CV.

Frequently asked questions

About the programme

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

Your work-based mentor must agree to support you in gaining the right training opportunities and spending a minimum of 6 hours per week of your work time on the apprenticeship. They must also attend quarterly review meetings between you and your university personal tutor to discuss and review your progress.

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.

Your employer must agree to support you in gaining that development time, by releasing you to complete your studies with the university, and/or to attend other development opportunities. Your employer should allow you a minimum of 6 hours per week off the job learning time.

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

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

The application process

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.”

If you didn't get Grade A-C at GCSE for Maths and/or English, or if you hold other qualifications which aren’t accepted as equivalent, you can undertake the Functional Skills course during the programme.

You can request a replacement certificate from your exam board.

It is an ESFA requirement that apprentices spend at least 50% of their work hours in England. Exemptions may apply if your occupation involves significant travel outside the UK (such as British armed forces and travel/tourism) – please speak to our team for advice.

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

Yes, you need at least one reference from your employer.

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.

  • Letter of support from your employer (mandatory)
  • Passport / work permit/immigration documents (mandatory, as relevant)
  • CV (mandatory)
  • Degree certificate(s) and transcript(s) (if you have a degree)
  • Professional qualification certificate(s) (if applicable) e.g. ACCA, CIMA
  • Other qualification documents that have led to certification (e.g. Prince Practitioner)
  • GCSE Maths or equivalent certificate (if you have an approved qualification)
  • GCSE English or equivalent certificate (if you have an approved qualification)

Yes, you must have the agreement of your employer and their support for you to: determine whether this is the right programme for you; receive funding; spend a minimum of 6 hours of your contracted hours on off the job Training; and gain the development opportunities necessary to complete the programme. You employer will also enter into contractual agreements with The University of Manchester and the ESFA to support your apprenticeship.

During the programme

Your employer must commit to giving you a minimum of 6 hours per week of your standard working hours for ‘off-the-job’ study.

Your employer must commit to giving you a minimum of 6 hours per week of your standard working hours for ‘off-the-job’ study. You can manage this time flexibly – 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 employer who agrees to take you on as an apprentice, your employer would have to pay 5% of the remaining training price.

If you move to an employer who does not take you on as an apprentice, you can continue on the PGDip by paying the remaining fee yourself but you would no longer be on an apprenticeship and you will not get the Senior Leader Apprenticeship qualification.

You can transfer your place to the new organisation, providing they agree.

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.