Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA)

SLMDA Header

The Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA) is a Trailblazer Apprenticeship designed by employers, working with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), to develop the strategic leadership skills of those responsible for the overall performance and long-term sustainability of their organisations. The Master's is a higher-level degree apprenticeship that is pitched at Level 7 and includes business education, work-based learning, and professional development through to Chartered Manager status.

The SLMDA is underpinned by the MBA Leadership and is built around a programme of development suited to becoming a strategic leader and manager. The programme aims to develop a critical appreciation of the issues and complexities in the present and future business environment and the need for strategies of sustainability in business and society.

The Master's is suitable for those who are, or wish to become, professional managers, i.e. people that take strategic responsibility for projects, people, operations, and services to deliver long term organisational success. It is applicable to professional managers from all sectors (private, public or third sector) and all sizes of organisation. The Master's has been designed for as wide a range of individuals as possible, including those who aspire to become professional managers and achieve Chartered Manager status, as well as existing managers who may already have developed practical experience but who wish to develop their theoretical understanding of strategic management skills further.

Benefits for Employers

The apprenticeship is first and foremost a job with substantial training and the opportunity to develop a range of knowledge, skills, and behaviours. This is designed to enable your workforce to grow organically whilst combining university study and workplace learning to enable apprentices to gain a full Master’s degree. The programme offers professional recognition by the CMI through the award of Chartered Manager status, and is designed to ensure that apprentices are equipped with the skills employers need to boost their employment prospects as well as impact their organisation positively.

  • Apprentices can develop the skills and knowledge that is directly relevant to your business and to their role, leading to motivated and committed employees.
  • Provides the opportunity to 'grow your own' staff, instilling your business culture and working style.
  • Development of in-house talent and retention of existing staff.
  • Individually negotiated projects and assignments designed to benefit your department or organisation.
  • Strengthened links and potential for collaborative work with the University.
  • Utilise government funding. Use government funding to prepare staff for a significant future in your business, by gaining internationally recognised qualifications.
  • If you’re a levy-paying employer, you can use the funds in your account to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment (up to a funding band maximum).
  • If you’re a non-levy paying employer, you can share the cost of apprenticeship training with the government.

Benefits for Employees

• Apprentices can develop the power of critical enquiry, logical thought, creative imagination, and independent judgment, and apply these to decision-making processes within leadership environments.

• The programme aims to equip apprentices with an understanding of the principles of responsible leadership.

• Apprentices have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills to enhance their effectiveness as leaders.

• The programme aims to develop apprentices who, at the end of their learning experience, are able to fulfill the expectations of a professional leadership role.

• Gives apprentices the chance to reflect on and learn from their own professional experience and be able to integrate new knowledge with their experience and apply it to leadership situations.

• Apprentice can develop as reflective practitioners who can recognise the need for lifelong learning and continued professional development and manage their own learning.

• The course offers flexible delivery to meet the needs of apprentices who are seeking to develop their career by combining academic study with their existing employment.


How You Study

As a work-based degree programme, the underpinning MBA Leadership is designed for students who wish to develop their careers by studying for a Master’s degree while remaining in their current employment. This is achieved through a blended learning approach of face-to-face and online delivery.

The programme draws upon critical action learning, which aims to promote a deeper understanding of the realities of situations through collective as well as individual reflection, considering the tensions, contradictions, emotions, and power dynamics that exist within a group and an individual manager's life. Through the use of action learning sets, students can combine action learning with critical thinking and critical management learning.

How You Are Assessed

Assessment methods on the underpinning MBA Leadership are based on work-based portfolios that should contain evidence of theory, practice, and reflection. Portfolio assessment will be through a range of formats, these could include reports, case studies, reflective learning accounts, presentations, projects, proposals, plans, or practical work-based artefacts with accompanying critical commentary.

The Negotiated Learning Project forms the final 60 credits of the MBA Leadership and allows students to demonstrate their mastery of business management and leadership in a ‘capstone’ project for an organisation. It is an individual project in which students can bring together all their learning on the programme to help solve a chosen business problem or challenge. This allows students to combine elements of learning from different parts of the MBA Leadership to demonstrate their accumulated knowledge and understanding of management and its application to an organisation through synoptic assessment.

Students who are registered on the SLMDA scheme are required by the Chartered Management Institute to create a portfolio during the on-programme period, with evidence demonstrating achievement of the knowledge, skills, and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship standards. This portfolio should consist of work from the module portfolios as well as additional evidence from the workplace. At the End-Point Assessment stage the professional discussion will be based on a review of the portfolio of evidence and this discussion is 50% of the End Point Assessment. Students on the SLMDA route will be provided with a SLMDA handbook. In addition, students will receive access to an SLMDA portfolio tool in which to build evidence towards EPA.

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

Entry Requirements

For organisations putting forwards candidates for the SLMDA, the entry criteria will be developed in line with the Education and Skills Funding Agency Rules and according to employers and the University needs. Applicants will be individually assessed and will need to write a statement of intent and undertake an academic interview.

As a minimum applicants should be:

• Be employed in a managerial capacity with a minimum of 2 years of experience

• Have relevant work experience

• Have English and Mathematics at Level 2 or equivalent.

Fees and Funding


Businesses in the UK are now required to pay HMRC the apprenticeship levy on a monthly basis through the PAYE system. There is an opportunity for all UK businesses regardless of whether you are a levy-paying employer or not, to benefit from government funding for apprenticeship training. More information on how Apprenticeship funding works can be found here on the website.

Levy-Paying Employer:

- From April 2017 the government levy imposed a 0.5% levy on businesses payroll.

- Employers with a payroll in excess of £3m will be affected.

- For every £1 paid in the government will top up by 10%.

Apprentice Levy Calculator:

Calculate Your Levy

Our Fees:







 Typically 2.5 years plus EPA

Senior Leaders Master's Degree Apprenticeship - underpinned by MBA Leadership



*Course fee may vary, for further information contact

Non-Levy Paying Employers

Non-Levy Paying Employers should contact the directly to check the availability of Education and Skills Funding Agency funded Apprenticeship places for smaller employers. Where funded places are available, eligible businesses are required to contribute to 5% of the above charge. This is known as ‘co-investment’ and is also available for those businesses who have already expended their levy funds.

For more information and for details about funding your study, please see our UK/EU Fees & Funding pages or our International funding and scholarship pages.

Useful Links

GOV.UK - Guide to the Apprenticeship Levy

GOV.UK - ESFA Funding Rules 

Chartered Management Institute - Guide to the SLMDA

Lincoln International Business School -

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