What cutting contentious funding means for the executive MBA

Lavern Vogel

Three several years in the past, at the age of 39, Avtar Boparai became an apprentice. He could do so for the reason that of a adjust in the way workplace schooling was funded in England — as a result of a levy on employers that had to be invested within just two several years or be taken by the government in tax.

Like other levy payers, Boparai’s employer at the time — the children’s charity Barnardo’s — was cost-free to fund whatsoever degree of apprenticeship it felt required, supplying the trainee time off throughout the doing work 7 days to analyze. In Boparai’s scenario this meant a senior leadership programme at Cranfield Faculty of Administration in south-east England, at the end of which he graduated with an executive MBA.

“I did not want to pass up this possibility for the reason that I could not afford to pay for to fork out for an MBA on my personal,” he states. “It is the most beneficial thing that I have at any time finished.”

He is now a skilled improvement professional at Corndell, a management and know-how schooling supplier, coaching mentoring and instructing on the facts skilled diploma, which can also be funded with the apprenticeship levy.

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But his peers will now have to find other approaches to achieve what he has, for the reason that this experiment in funding EMBAs as a type of apprenticeship has appear to an end.

These senior leadership apprenticeships attracted controversy for the reason that of the use of levy funds for a organization masters and for the reason that entry-degree apprenticeships for faculty leavers declined sharply soon after the levy was introduced in April 2017. EDSK, a consider-tank, labelled the senior leadership qualification a “fake” apprenticeship. Since September, it has no extended been possible for new senior leadership apprentices to fund a masters with levy funds.

Demand for EMBAs in the British isles rose speedily soon after the levy was introduced. Only all-around five hundred people graduated from EMBA classes in the 2017-eighteen academic yr, in accordance to the Chartered Association of Small business Faculties (Cabs). This summer season there had been 15,000.

The enhance is partly down to a rise in purposes since the pandemic, though the levy was a considerable variable, states Robert MacIntosh, Cabs chair and college pro vice-chancellor for organization and legislation at Northumbria College in north-east England. “Lots of member faculties had executive and part-time MBA programmes that had been battling, then suddenly they observed they had grown like topsy,” he states.

Lorraine Stockle, affiliate director of talent acquisition for Europe, the Center East and Africa at US telecoms company Verizon, also benefited from a levy-funded EMBA, graduating in August from the senior leader apprenticeship programme at Henley Small business Faculty in southern England. “When I saw the possibility to get a good qualification with a truly fantastic organization faculty, it appeared mad not to take it,” she states. “But I also did it to update my skills.”

The apprenticeship rules meant Stockle had to take time out from her doing work day to go to lessons, alternatively than attending at weekends as is typical for EMBA college students. A person gain of the qualification has been to broaden her community at Verizon. “I now do stakeholder mapping, in which I am contemplating about everyone I need to interact with if I want to roll out an initiative,” she states. “The EMBA gave me a justification to [fulfill] with different ranges of management to fully grasp their views.”

Lorraine Stockle’s EMBA has helped her broaden her network at her company
Lorraine Stockle’s EMBA has assisted her broaden her community at her company © Anna Gordon

The College of Exeter Small business Faculty in south-west England had stopped jogging an EMBA for the reason that of a absence of applicants soon after the levy use adjust. Having said that, need for the senior leadership apprenticeship programme enable the faculty recreate the form of part-time analyze its preceding EMBA cohorts would undertake for its general MBA.

Since it introduced the programme in 2018, in partnership with money services team JPMorgan, much more than five hundred people have acquired a levy-funded MBA from Exeter. College students have appear from a broader assortment of backgrounds than the faculty traditionally has attracted to its MBA lessons, including the NHS and other general public-sector bodies.

“The greatest gain of the apprenticeship programme compared with our MBA is the way it created prospects for people who wouldn’t have finished this right before,” states Rachael Johnstone, director of diploma apprenticeships. “It also integrates analyze with the workplace in a way MBA programmes usually do not. The employer will get on board.”

Funding MBAs from funds that could have supplied workplace schooling for faculty leavers was usually likely to be controversial. Having said that, Exeter’s MBA staff sense it is far too early to say no matter if need for EMBAs will drop. Stuart Robinson, affiliate dean for skilled education, notes that Exeter has enrolled about 70 college students as senior leadership apprentices for the new academic yr. “What we simply cannot see is how lots of people will be keen to upgrade to the MBA, despite the fact that from the discussions we have had I consider it will be the the vast majority,” he states.

At Exeter, despite the fact that it will now price an additional £4,000-£5,000 to get hold of an MBA soon after the apprenticeship programme, it will be less complicated for college students as it can be accomplished at weekends, alternatively than throughout office environment hrs under the apprenticeship levy rule, Johnstone notes.

College students can also take a broader range of classes to get hold of their EMBA credits than are offered under the apprenticeship programme. “We can get started with a blank page and say, ‘What form of troubles do you want to offer with for your organisation?’” Johnstone adds.

MacIntosh is much more sceptical. “The senior leadership apprenticeship bought a scale for the reason that it was a truly profitable formulation. It was a good funding mechanism and it assisted faculties with what they had been truly battling with — acquiring massive enough cohorts on their EMBA programmes,” he states.

“Investing in your management skills is a fantastic plan for employers, but there is a great deal of force on company finances, which implies it is usually not seen as a pressing enough concern. Removing the incentive the apprenticeship levy gave is a authentic mis-action.”

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