Leeds Executive Leadership Apprenticeship

Leeds level 7 apprenticeship University of leeds

The Leeds Executive Leadership Apprenticeship programme is an innovative programme for senior managers working in the public or private sector and is designed to develop you as a leader and take you to the next stage of your career.

Applications for the October 2024 cohort are now open. The application deadline for this cohort is 20 September 2024.

Please click here to view the commitments, expectations, and entry requirements for this programme.

Programme overview

Supported by your employer, and paid for directly through the apprenticeship levy, this programme provides the opportunity to gain a high quality, level 7 qualification from the Leeds University Business School - a world-ranked and triple accredited business school. 

Throughout the programme, you will develop an increased knowledge of leadership, gain a good understanding of the latest business and management theories and how to apply this in your workplace. You will work with academics and hear from industry experts who will share practical insights around areas such as organisational leadership, digital transformation and change management. In addition, you will develop your own managerial skills in areas such as critical and analytical thinking, decision-making, negotiation, problem solving and increase your financial acumen.

Programme summary

  • Level 7 apprenticeship

  • Funded through your employer’s apprenticeship levy scheme

  • 18 month programme: 14 month taught programme plus 4 months during which the External End Point Assessment (EPA) will take place

  • Blended learning through combining online and face-to-face teaching

  • Opportunity to receive CMI Chartered Manager Status

  • Option to undertake additional modules to uplift to a Masters in Executive Leadership

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a formal work-based programme. The training is designed to enable you to become fully competent in Executive Leadership in the workplace. Your employer must commit to giving you 20% of your normal working hours, excluding overtime, as time spent undertaking the programme. This is known as ‘off the job’ training and is a statutory requirement for an English apprenticeship. The 20% of your time will be spent “achieving the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the approved apprenticeship referenced in the apprenticeship agreement”. Between 90% and 100% of the fees will be met through the apprenticeship levy scheme.

Information for employers

In a constantly changing world, it’s essential for businesses to find ways to retain and develop their high-performing staff to help future-proof their business. The Level-7 Leadership Apprenticeship offered by Leeds University Business School offers an ideal off-the-shelf leadership development programme for your organisation.

Find Out More Here.

Case studies

An introduction to the programme

The programme has been specifically designed to offer a high degree of flexibility to enable you to balance your learning and your role at work. You will be able to study at a time, place and pace that works for you. The learning experience uses a blended approach to learning with a combination of live sessions (either in a classroom or virtually), augmented with curated self-learning journeys. You will learn with a cohort of other leaders like yourself and the programme builds in opportunities for you to work along with them on learning tasks.

With an interactive and supportive teaching style, the programme focuses on your leadership journey and developing you as a leader. Your learning will be fully supported by a mentor from within your organisation and a personal tutor from the university.

The latest action-based teaching techniques will stimulate and enhance your skills development, allowing you to experience the ‘real world’ challenges of leading enterprise, both locally and globally. 

Throughout the programme you will apply your skills and critical understanding to strategic projects within your organisation, and assessments will be integrated within your workplace environment.

The details shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Leeds Executive Leadership Level 7 Programme rated "Good" by Ofsted Leeds Executive Leadership Level 7 Programme rated “Good” by Ofsted 


Successful Completion

Successful completion of the programme will enable you to be an: 

  • Independent and strategic thinker with the ability to integrate knowledge within and across business disciplines
  • Reflective practitioner with the skills to critically evaluate problems using appropriate concepts, theories and models 
  • Effective leader who can integrate theory with experience in order to lead complex strategic organisational change appreciating the need for continuous professional development 
  • Innovative entrepreneur who can realise opportunities and develop innovative strategies to solve problems and make strategic decisions 
  • Strategic communicator who can demonstrate cultural sensitivity and a willingness to solve problems involving team work and group activities within diverse environments 
  • Ethical leader who is a socially responsible decision-maker 
  • Effective communicator who can think and communicate strategically


Through a variety of taught content blocks you will gain understanding of the fundamentals of business.

  • Strategy for Business Leaders
    Introduces participants to key strategic management concepts, analytical frameworks and models. The learning block will also help participants develop a critical understanding of the strategy formulation and implementation process.

  • Finance for Practice
    Participants will examine and apply key accounting tools, techniques and financial information which is used to aid organisational decision making.   

  • Managing Change and Innovation
    Introduces the key concepts and underlying theories relating to organisational change management and innovation. 

  • Management Decision Making
    Offers insight into, and understanding of, the thinking processes that underlie human judgement and decision making.

  • Positive Leadership
    Outlines and critically evaluates leadership theories, models and strategies. Through this participants have the opportunity to develop an understanding regarding standards of interpersonal excellence and behaviours.

  • Digital Business Transformation
    Will enable participants to evaluate key technologies underpinning digital business developments and an opportunity to examine the process by which systems are developed and introduced to organisations.   

  • Ethics and Sustainability
    Provides participants with a contemporary and practical insight into the key issues and activities associated with business ethics, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR).  

The culmination of the apprenticeship is the Live Business Project. Supported by a university supervisor, you will test your initiative by identifying a current issue within your organisation, devise a solution and develop a business project to put the solution into place.

Programme content aligns with the Level 7 senior leadership apprenticeship standards as set by the Institute for Apprenticeships

Students can choose whether to have their external assessment by the CMI or the ILM. For those choosing the CMI they will automatically gain Chartered Manager Status and if eligible will be awarded Chartered Manager Fellow status.

Blended learning

  • Teaching is interactive and supportive, combining online and face-to-face learning with one-to-one coaching.

  • The latest action-based teaching techniques will stimulate and enhance your skills development, allowing you to experience the ‘real world’ challenges of leading enterprise, both locally and globally.

  • The digital content of the modules will be industry focused and led by professional academics who are also practitioners in their field, both nationally and internationally.

  • Taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Assessments are varied with a strong practical focus, applied to solving live examples and real business problems. This will include reports, case study projects, presentations, reflective learning and classroom discussions. This wide range gives you the opportunity to work to your strengths and gain skills in different forms of expression.

As you progress through each learning block you will have the opportunity to test your knowledge of key issues and concepts through a series of non-compulsory formative tasks. At the end of the learning block you will be asked to complete a short assessment. These assessments will have a strong practical focus and will include reports, case study projects and presentations.


  • Work experience: A minimum of 3 years’ work experience in a leadership and management position. 

  • Prior Learning: If you have to continually update your CPD qualifications or are a member of a professional body in an area related to leadership, management or accounting/finance, please contact us to discuss your eligibility as this may exclude you from certain elements of the programme.

  • Degree: A bachelor’s degree with a 2.2 (hons) is required. If you do not have a bachelor degree, a relevant professional qualification and evidence of significant work experience at a senior level may be considered.

  • GCSE: Apprentices must hold English and Maths grade C/4 or above (or equivalent); 

  • Employment Contract: You must be fully employed by a UK based company and your contract must not expire prior to the end of the training programme.

  • Job Role: Applicants will be in a job role whereby they provide clear, inclusive and strategic leadership and direction relating to their area of responsibility within an organisation. The job role must have a productive purpose and the applicant must be able to show that there is a direct link between this job role and the ESFA Senior leader apprenticeship standard

    Responsibilities are likely to include the following:

    • Setting direction, vision, governance and providing a clear sense of purpose for their area of responsibility.

    • Identifying longer-term opportunities and risks using data from internal intelligence sources and external influences.

    • Developing ethical, innovative and supportive cultures that get the best from people and enable the delivery of results.

    • Resources that may include budgets, people, assets and facilities.

    • Staying up to date with innovation and championing its adoption.

    • Keeping pace with and responding to change by leading agile transformation.

    • Leading and promoting sustainable business practices.

    • Responding and managing crisis situations.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications.

Individuals are eligible for apprenticeship funding through an employer’s apprenticeship service account or government-employer co-investment if they have a valid and eligible residency status. Non-UK nationals are eligible for funding if they have permission from the UK government to live in the UK (not for educational purposes), and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least the previous three years before the start of the apprenticeship.

To use funds in the employer’s apprenticeship service account or government-employer co-investment, the individual must not be:

  • Self employed as a sole trader (a person who conducts business by their own personality and not with any other corporate personality).

  • A shareholder / director with no separate identifiable line manager to undertake the role of ‘employer’, as defined by these funding rules. By this we mean it is prohibited for someone to sign a contract, including an apprenticeship agreement, as both the apprentice and as the employer. 

The full eligibility criteria are outlined in the ESFA Funding rules - see Page 26 for eligibility.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to pass an approved English language test.

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Fees and Funding

The fees of £14,000 will be paid by your employer organisation through the UK Apprenticeship Levy Scheme, subject to eligibility and availability.

  • If you are employed by a large company which pays the UK apprenticeship levy the fees will be paid in full by the levy scheme, once your employer has registered with the Digital Apprenticeship Portal and completed and signed the formal written contract with the University of Leeds. Your place will only be made available to you upon completion of the formal procedures.

  • If you are employed by an SME, they can apply to reserve funding through the UK Apprenticeship levy scheme, but places are limited. The company will have to pay 5% of the cost of the fees. 95% of the fees will be paid in full by the levy scheme, once your employer has registered with the Digital Apprenticeship Portal and completed and signed the formal written contract with the University of Leeds. Your place will only be made available to you upon completion of the formal procedures.

This programme is delivered under the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education standards as a Level 7 Senior Leader.

Please note you will not be eligible for a tuition fee loan.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.


Upon completion of the Leeds Executive Leadership Level 7 Apprenticeship, you may wish to study further to Masters’ level. These additional modules are not covered by the apprenticeship levy scheme. The cost of the additional modules to study for the MSc Executive Leadership is £4,000 for the period to 31 August 2024.

Please note, from 1 September 2024 the fee will be £4,200. Contact Kristen Cabrera-Uhl for further details


Supporting application documents and information you’ll need to upload in due course, before your application can be approved:

  • Employer reference from your current line manager endorsing your application for the programme.

  • Written confirmation from your employer with their agreement to you spending 20% of your normal working hours on this formal work based qualification.

  • Copy of your bachelor degree certificate(s) and transcripts.

  • If you don’t have a bachelor degree, evidence of your professional qualifications and any other CPD qualifications.

  • Copies of your GCSE Maths and English certificates showing pass grades C/4, or an equivalent.

  • A full CV setting out how you meet the job role responsibilities set out in the eligibility criteria.

  • If English is not your first language, provide evidence of your English language and Maths qualifications.

Selection principles

We will take all of our entry criteria into consideration when evaluating your application, as well as your post-apprenticeship career goals and whether the apprenticeship is likely to help you fulfil them.

All eligible applicants will be invited to a formal telephone interview.

Next steps
  1. If you have any questions, please contact Kristen Cabrera-Uhl (ExecEd@leeds.ac.uk)

  2. Please complete the application form

  3. The application form will be reviewed for eligibility and suitability.

  4. You will be invited to upload various supporting documents to a secure portal.

  5. Once all the paperwork has been uploaded you will be invited to a formal telephone interview.

  6. A provisional offer of a place will only be made after a successful interview.

  7. Your place on the programme will only be made available to you upon completion of the legal apprenticeship paperwork and procedures by your employer.

Application closing date:

Applications for the October 2024 cohort are now open. The application deadline for this cohort is 20 September 2024.

Meet the Team

Kristen Cabera-Uhl LELA Relationship Manager

Kristen Cabrera-Uhl

Kristen is the Relationship Manager for Executive Education at Leeds University Business School. Originally from the Washington DC area, Kristen has spent the last eight years working in universities across the United States. Kristen manages the recruitment to our Executive Leadership Apprenticeship and works closely with businesses to advise them, and their employees, on how they can get the most value out of the apprenticeship programme.

To find out more about the Leeds Executive Leadership Apprenticeship, email Kristen: ExecEd@leeds.ac.uk

Andrew Lewis 340 x 340

Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis is the apprenticeship programme director for the Leeds Executive Leadership Level 7 Apprenticeship. He is an associate professor and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  Andrew Lewis is passionate about executive education and has over ten years of experience in leading and developing executive education and apprenticeship programmes for businesses in the UK, and twelve years of industry experience both in the UK with Tesco and Internationally with Hilton Hotels.