What cutting contentious funding means for the executive MBA

A few decades in the past, at the age of 39, Avtar Boparai became an apprentice. He could do so simply because of a change in the way office training was funded in England — by a levy on employers that experienced to be put in inside of two decades or be taken by the govt in tax.

Like other levy payers, Boparai’s employer at the time — the children’s charity Barnardo’s — was free to fund regardless of what amount of apprenticeship it felt essential, supplying the trainee time off during the performing 7 days to review. In Boparai’s circumstance this intended a senior management programme at Cranfield School of Management in south-east England, at the conclusion of which he graduated with an government MBA.

“I did not want to overlook this chance simply because I could not find the money for to pay for an MBA on my have,” he states. “It is the most useful issue that I have at any time finished.”

He is now a expert growth expert at Corndell, a administration and know-how training supplier, coaching mentoring and teaching on the info expert diploma, which can also be funded with the apprenticeship levy.

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But his friends will now have to find other methods to realize what he has, simply because this experiment in funding EMBAs as a sort of apprenticeship has arrive to an conclusion.

These senior management apprenticeships attracted controversy simply because of the use of levy resources for a company masters and simply because entry-amount apprenticeships for university leavers declined sharply just after the levy was introduced in April 2017. EDSK, a consider-tank, labelled the senior management qualification a “fake” apprenticeship. Since September, it has no longer been doable for new senior management apprentices to fund a masters with levy funds.

Demand for EMBAs in the Uk rose quickly just after the levy was introduced. Only about 500 persons graduated from EMBA courses in the 2017-eighteen educational calendar year, according to the Chartered Affiliation of Small business Schools (Cabs). This summer time there were fifteen,000.

The increase is partly down to a rise in purposes given that the pandemic, however the levy was a major variable, states Robert MacIntosh, Cabs chair and school pro vice-chancellor for company and regulation at Northumbria University in north-east England. “Lots of member faculties experienced government and portion-time MBA programmes that were having difficulties, then all of a sudden they observed they experienced grown like topsy,” he states.

Lorraine Stockle, affiliate director of expertise acquisition for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at US telecoms enterprise Verizon, also benefited from a levy-funded EMBA, graduating in August from the senior leader apprenticeship programme at Henley Small business School in southern England. “When I observed the chance to get a good qualification with a actually fantastic company university, it seemed outrageous not to get it,” she states. “But I also did it to update my skills.”

The apprenticeship regulations intended Stockle experienced to get time out from her performing working day to go to classes, instead than attending at weekends as is regular for EMBA pupils. One particular profit of the qualification has been to broaden her network at Verizon. “I now do stakeholder mapping, the place I am thinking about absolutely everyone I will need to have interaction with if I want to roll out an initiative,” she states. “The EMBA gave me a justification to [meet] with distinct ranges of administration to comprehend their perspectives.”

Lorraine Stockle’s EMBA has helped her broaden her network at her company
Lorraine Stockle’s EMBA has aided her broaden her network at her enterprise © Anna Gordon

The University of Exeter Small business School in south-west England experienced stopped functioning an EMBA simply because of a lack of applicants just after the levy use change. Nonetheless, need for the senior management apprenticeship programme let the university recreate the variety of portion-time review its earlier EMBA cohorts would undertake for its normal MBA.

Since it released the programme in 2018, in partnership with economic solutions group JPMorgan, extra than 500 persons have received a levy-funded MBA from Exeter. Students have arrive from a broader variety of backgrounds than the university historically has attracted to its MBA classes, including the NHS and other community-sector bodies.

“The biggest profit of the apprenticeship programme compared with our MBA is the way it designed options for persons who wouldn’t have finished this ahead of,” states Rachael Johnstone, director of diploma apprenticeships. “It also integrates review with the office in a way MBA programmes often do not. The employer will get on board.”

Funding MBAs from funds that may possibly have delivered office training for university leavers was usually heading to be controversial. Nonetheless, Exeter’s MBA team sense it is much too early to say whether need for EMBAs will fall. Stuart Robinson, affiliate dean for expert education and learning, notes that Exeter has enrolled about 70 pupils as senior management apprentices for the new educational calendar year. “What we can not see is how many persons will be prepared to improve to the MBA, though from the discussions we have experienced I consider it will be the the greater part,” he states.

At Exeter, though it will now price tag an extra £4,000-£5,000 to get hold of an MBA just after the apprenticeship programme, it will be easier for pupils as it can be accomplished at weekends, instead than during office hours under the apprenticeship levy rule, Johnstone notes.

Students can also get a broader assortment of courses to get hold of their EMBA credits than are out there under the apprenticeship programme. “We can commence with a blank webpage and say, ‘What form of worries do you want to deal with for your organisation?’” Johnstone adds.

MacIntosh is extra sceptical. “The senior management apprenticeship obtained a scale simply because it was a actually winning method. It was a good funding mechanism and it aided faculties with what they were actually having difficulties with — acquiring significant enough cohorts on their EMBA programmes,” he states.

“Investing in your administration skills is a fantastic plan for employers, but there is a whole lot of stress on enterprise finances, which suggests it is often not witnessed as a urgent enough issue. Getting rid of the incentive the apprenticeship levy gave is a real mis-step.”