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The group have recently completed the Senior Leaders Master’s Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA) or Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) while still being in full-time employment through the University’s Centre for Work Related Studies (CWRS) which offers work-based learning courses for organisations across the world.

The participants praised the flexibility of the programme as they studied alongside their working and home lives and the opportunity to develop projects which benefitted their workplaces and their careers.

Emilia Hoyle, who works at Heat Trace Ltd in Frodsham, thanks her CMDA achievement in helping her to secure a promotion. She said: “My apprenticeship has really catapulted me into my career and has excelled my expectations.  During completing the CMDA I was promoted to Marketing Manager and I now manage a department.  To recognise my progression, in November 2019, I was crowned winner of the Lloyds Banking Group Award for Rising Star of the Year at the National Apprenticeship awards. It is rewarding to be recognised for my hard work and commitment to my apprenticeship and Heat Trace.” 

Data Analyst Jo Hiles, who also works at the University, recommended her CMDA programme to others. She said: “I met a new colleague who was unsure about whether they wanted to join the programme.  I shared my experience and answered their questions and by the end of the conversation they had decided to apply. Having completed the course, I have gained extra confidence and feel as if I am more equipped in relation to everyday business challenges. I have broadened my mind and have a fuller appreciation of others’ views and approaches to work.”

The opportunity to meet and work with people from other organisations was a bonus for Sally McCreith, Medical Workforce Business Partner at Liverpool NHS Foundation Trust, who has achieved an MBA with Distinction. She said: “It was great to interact with course mates in diverse roles and with the lessons being structured to include debate and group work you got to interact and engage with new and interesting people.”

Fellow NHS employee, Jo Keogh, who is the Divisional Director of Planned Care at the Countess of Chester Hospital, found sheenjoyed the flexibility of the course and found that “the Distance Learning approach allowed me to undertake the programme, as frequent attendance at University was not possible because of my work commitments. I enjoyed the flexibility and could not have completed the programme without this.”

Dr Lisa Rowe, Deputy Head of the CWRS, who has led on the design, development and growth of the CMDA and SLMDA programmes, said: “I am extremely proud of everyone who has taken part in these programmes. It takes tremendous commitment to engage with study alongside the challenges of work and home life, however at the University of Chester, we are here to support our students throughout their academic journey and help them to achieve their best.”

Degree apprenticeships have been designed by a group of leading businesses, in conjunction with the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) and professional bodies, to help employers to address skills gaps and grow their own workforce of the future.

The Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) curriculum is focused upon core competencies. Each assessment can be individually negotiated specifically to put the apprentice's learning into context, resulting in a comprehensive portfolio of evidence that may also be used by the organisation to enhance performance. The course also incorporates a bespoke, individually tailored consultancy project at each level, which apprentices should be able to negotiate and design in conjunction with their organisation to benefit a specific business area.

The SLMDA apprenticeship standard is currently under review by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE). Further details are due to be published by December, 2020.

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