Aston Executive Leadership Degree Apprenticeship


This postgraduate apprenticeship offers an in-depth personal and professional development programme designed to transform learners into confident, informed business leaders.


Course type
Entry requirements

2 Years

Start date

Course overview

The Aston Executive Leadership Apprenticeship is a transformational programme for managers who want to accelerate their careers and immerse themselves in the principles of strategic thinking in a business context. Suitable for the private, public, or third sector and designed for all sizes of organisation - learners will gain management knowledge, transferable skills and leadership behaviours. 

You will gain a broad knowledge of leadership and management skills, covering core topics such as organisational strategy, financial performance, managing operations and delivering customer value. These topics are supplemented with a range of electives, and our unique personal development programme, The Aston Edge. 

Why choose Aston University?

Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded Triple Gold – the highest possible rating for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
Elevate your leadership journey
Provides a progression pathway to the Executive MBA
Aston Business School
Excelling in the top 1% of Global Business Schools
CMI Chartered Manager
Obtain the status of a Chartered Manager
Upon successful completion of the apprenticeship, graduates would receive Chartered Manager status from the CMI


"One of the greatest benefits is how you can apply the teachings directly within your workplace. The course is structured in a way that means you have to learn academic knowledge, apply it to the workplace, then reflect on what the impact was and how you have and will develop as a result. I feel that this leads to a deeper learning and therefore greater impact within your role and organisation."

Jack Miller
Degree Apprentice

MBA progression pathway 

This programme enables candidates who have completed the apprenticeship to progress to an Executive MBA. Apprentices can apply to progress to this pathway during the apprenticeship and will automatically be accepted as long as they complete the apprenticeship stage. The MBA programmes are typically a six-month project, and students are allocated a research supervisor to support their learning.

Learn more about the Executive MBA


Course description

Aston Executive Leadership Degree Apprenticeship PgDip

Accelerate your career and learn the principles of strategic business thinking. Gain management knowledge, transferable skills and develop leadership behaviours.

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What will we provide?
You will receive mentorship and guidance from experienced skills coaches and lecturers, sharing theory and practical knowledge. 
On successful completion of the Executive Leadership Apprenticeship, you will gain:
•    A Postgraduate Diploma
•    The opportunity to progress to Aston’s Executive MBA
•    Eligibility to apply for Chartered Status from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)
•    An apprenticeship certificate.

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What will you provide
As an apprentice, you will be required to balance academic work, full-time employment, and on-the-job training. You will be expected to engage with teaching materials, online lectures, and in-person sessions. You will need to submit coursework and other assessments in a timely manner.

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What skills will we teach?
You will gain a wide variety of practical leadership and management skills, underpinned by rigorous theory, frameworks and methodology. 

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Career prospects
Successful completion of the Aston Executive Leadership Apprenticeship leaves learners perfectly placed to progress into senior leadership roles in any organisation. Apprentices also have the option to further enhance their career prospects by progressing to the Executive MBA and gaining one of the most prized professional qualifications in business. Previous graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of industries, including roles with global brands.

How you will learn

The course is delivered through blended learning. Most modules are taught in six to eight-week blocks, usually incorporating on-campus study days, where you will learn through lectures and interactive workshops. This is also a chance to network with fellow business leaders from a wide range of organisations. Face-to-face study sessions give apprentices the opportunity to enrich their learning through discussion of current business issues.

Most teaching is delivered through our virtual learning environment, Blackboard, where candidates can engage with module content, participate in live seminars and communicate with their peers. There is also an extensive online library of content to support their studies. Webinars typically occur outside of work time and are recorded to give apprentices the flexibility to balance studies with work and personal commitments.


At Aston University, apprentices enjoy full access to all the facilities available to regular students. This inclusive approach ensures that apprentices can take advantage of the university's state-of-the-art resources, such as libraries, laboratories, recreational spaces, and technological amenities. By providing equal access to these facilities, Aston University supports apprentices in their educational journey, enabling them to thrive in both academic and practical aspects of their chosen fields.

Course objectives

  1. Enhance your knowledge of the key business functions and processes and the ability to apply this, together with previous experience, to complex organisational and leadership challenges, opportunities, and issues.
  2. Develop the individual and collaborative skills required to become an effective, confident, and responsible leader of diverse, global organisations. 
  3. Evaluate and reflect upon their own strengths and career development requirements and use these to facilitate proactive, lifelong learning.
  4. Nurture an entrepreneurial mindset that enables students to be creative and use their initiative to find practical and innovative responses to organisational challenges and to evaluate the risks inherent in these endeavours. 
  5. Develop the ability to objectively frame an organisational problem or challenge; to design a study in response to this; to search for, collect and process appropriate information; and to use this in a critical and systematic way to reach an evidence-based decision / conclusion.

Modules and learning outcomes

Programme content is taught at postgraduate level and includes four core modules covering essential business and management topics:

Core modules

Module titleCredits
Measuring & enhancing financial performance15
Creating & delivering customer value15
Designing & managing systems, operations and processes15
Crafting organisational strategy15

 A selection of stage 1 outcomes 

  • Interpret a range of different types of accounting information and identify the limitations in accounting information and explain the implications of these limitations on the analysis and interpretation of that information.
  • Effectively use a range of accounting tools to assist with management decision making and performance assessment.
  • Communicate effective responses to business stakeholders using appropriate financial language and explain the role that strategic marketing plays in achieving organisational success. 
  • Analyse complex internal and external environments (changing customer demands and trends) in which organisations function and assess their implications for marketing decision and activities
  • Formulate actionable marketing strategies and ensuing marketing plans and marketing mix policies (including brand and reputation management).
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of marketing strategies and plans in specific organisational and environmental contexts
  • Explain the strategic importance of operations management and its theoretical bases in managing organisational resources from a global perspective.
  • Explain the key decision-making areas in operations management and their application to different contexts using knowledge of systems thinking.
  • Evaluate the contribution that operations management makes to procurement, supply chain management, and organisational performance, and be able to apply some practical techniques.
  • Generate new alternatives in the context of operations management decisions using the theoretical bases taught in the module.
  • Engage with key concepts in the process and content of strategy development in the business environment context and develop and enhance research and analysis skills on both structured and real-world case material.
  • Understand and apply key concepts and terminology in strategy and decision-making and integrate theoretical analysis with real-world practice to produce informed views on current management issues. 

Elective modules

Apprentices also have the opportunity to select two elective modules to deepen their knowledge of a key business area and specialise their apprenticeship, including but not limited to:

Module titleCredits
International business15
Business finance15
Entrepreneurial strategies15
Digital transformation15
Strategic and management accounting15
Risk management in a digital economy 15
Effective management consultancy 15


The Aston Edge 

Learners will also study The Aston Edge alongside the core modules. The Aston Edge is a unique personal development and leadership experience, with reflective practice and emotional intelligence at its core. It includes the opportunity for apprentices to undertake a personal psychometric evaluation using the Insights Forward tool. There are eight full day workshops in total which cover a variety of contemporary leadership and management issues. The module is 30 credits in total.

The eight workshops are listed below:

Workshop title
Aston Edge Essentials
The Responsible Leader
The Motivational Leader
Coaching and Leading High-Performance Teams
Influence and Personal Brand 
Leading in a VUCA World
The Entrepreneurial Leader 
Leading Change 
Embracing Diversity 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements are set by the hiring business and not Aston University so they vary between organisations. Apprentices are selected based on their applications, an interview and an assessment process which is tailored to your apprenticeship position.

Indicative entry requirements are given below, but please note that each employer may set their own criteria. 

Three A Levels (or equivalent) or a minimum of 3 years work experience

At least Grade 4 or C GCSE Maths and English

You will also need to meet the government's eligibility criteria:
  • Have been a UK/EU/EAA resident for the past three years or more prior to starting the course 
  • Have left full time education when the apprenticeship you are applying for is due to start 
  • Be aged at least 16 years old to meet government funding criteria. 

To be considered for this programme, Aston University expects that applications will have at least three years in a management position plus one of the following:
•    A UK honours degree in a related subject, or equivalent qualification 
•   or at least four years experience in a management position. 

To progress onto the MBA or MSc programmes, applicants will automatically be approved as long as they have completed all 120 credits of the apprenticeship programme.

Course fees

The cost of the apprenticeship is £14,000 and is covered by the apprenticeship levy.

The progression to an MBA or MSc will cost £4,400 and is not covered by the apprenticeship levy. This can be self-funded, funded by the employer, or co-funded. This is a special rate which applies to candidates who enrol on the apprenticeship programme in the first year and will be subject to review for following years.


For the taught element of the programme, apprentices are assessed using coursework and assignments attached to particular modules. There are no traditional examinations.

In addition to this, the Degree Apprenticeship requires apprentices to create a portfolio of evidence and produce a Strategic Business Proposal (SBP). 

The SBP is an applied consultancy project focusing on a strategic challenge or opportunity from apprentices own businesses. The portfolio of evidence and the End Point Assessment (EPA), which considers the apprentices SBP, is explained in more detail below.

The Portfolio

Throughout the programme apprentices will curate a personal and professional development portfolio. The purpose of the portfolio is to showcase the skills, knowledge and behaviours develop through the programme and how the apprentices has applied them to their role in the organisation.

Every apprentice is allocated an apprentice coach who will support their learning and skills development. The Aston Edge modules will support apprenticeship with skills development, personal reflection, collaborative working and ultimately, the construction of the portfolio.

The End Point Assessment (EPA)

The final stage of the apprenticeship is the EPA. You will meet with an independent assessor to discuss your SBP and the impact it had on your organisation. They will also review your development journey and how their portfolio has documented it. Finally, there will be a short interview allowing you time to share how the programme has helped them to grow and develop. After the assessment, based on both  your performance and portfolio, the assessor will award the apprentice either a fail, pass, merit or distinction for the apprenticeship.

Career prospects

Successful completion of the Aston Executive Leadership Apprenticeship leaves learners perfectly placed to progress into senior leadership roles in any organisation. Apprentices also have the option to further enhance their career prospects by progressing to the Executive MBA and gaining one of the most prized professional qualifications in business. Previous graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of industries, including roles with global brands.

Register your Interest