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Management Degree Apprenticeships: New CMI Data Challenges Misconceptions

Chartered Management Institute | Chartered Management Institute

3 min read Partner content

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI)’s latest data shows the socio-economic benefits of the qualification and the diversity of apprentices.


Latest research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) indicates that management degree apprenticeships are providing opportunities for people up and down the country - including in some of the most economically disadvantaged areas - to access high-quality management training; in a way that was not possible prior to the introduction of the levy. 

CMI’s initial analysis of data from over 2000 of our Senior Leader Masters Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA) apprentices shows that:

  • 70% of CMI SLMDA apprentices are in regions with lower than average UK productivity levels;
  • 40% are located in the 4 regions of England that the ONS identifies as having the lowest levels of productivity;
  • 48% are female.

Additionally, of the near half of CMI SLMDA apprentices where we can identify sectors:

  • 61% work in the public sector or not for profit (52% in the public sector and 9% not for profit);
  • Only 39% work in the private sector;
  • Only 7% are employed in FTSE 350 companies.

CMI has also found that the vast majority of SLMDA apprentices come from key public services like the NHS, the Police, and local councils, as well as social enterprises and SMEs, where excellent leadership skills are in huge demand.

Daisy Hooper, Head of Policy at the Chartered Management Institute, commented on the findings:

“It’s right that the apprenticeship levy is interrogated to ensure it is working as it was intended, and we are sympathetic to the concern that the levy is being used to fund MBAs at the expense of creating opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, when you look at the available data it becomes clear that this view is a misrepresentation. Degree apprenticeships such as the SLMDA represent a policy success the Government should be proud of: our data has found that these qualifications are all about empowering individuals to take control of their careers, and creating opportunities across the country.”

CMI’s evidence stands out against a backdrop of the UK’s poor and sluggish productivity. Evidence from the Bank of England, ONS, and OECD shows that a large part of this problem is due to a lack of leadership and management capability. The Government's 2019 Business Productivity Review also stated that: "Leadership and management practices therefore represent one of the greatest opportunities for firm-level productivity growth in the UK."

Daisy Hooper, Head of Policy at the Chartered Management Institute, said:

“To improve the British workforce and meet our productivity needs, the Government should be professionalising management, and embedding systematic interventions to improve this through training. Instead, it continues to tinker around the edges - a small pot of funding for FE governance here, a slightly bigger pot of funding for SMEs there.

For employers, and for the economy overall, there is a clear need for higher-level skills. The employer-led nature of the levy should be protected because it allows providers to innovate their content and delivery to meet this need. However, more needs to be done to incentivise and support employers to take on young people as apprentices – for example by reducing bureaucracy and improving levy flexibility.”

For more information on the link between management education and productivity, our report ‘Management Apprenticeships Boost Productivity’ can be found here.

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