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 mainly because of a improve in the way workplace education was funded in England — by a levy on employers that had to be put in within two decades 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 totally free to fund regardless of what degree of apprenticeship it felt required, supplying the trainee time off during the performing week to research. In Boparai’s case this meant a senior leadership programme at Cranfield University of Administration in south-east England, at the end of which he graduated with an government MBA.

“I did not want to skip this possibility mainly because I could not pay for to shell out for an MBA on my possess,” he claims. “It is the most important issue that I have ever accomplished.”

He is now a specialist growth qualified at Corndel, a management and technological innovation education supplier, coaching mentoring and training on the info specialist diploma, which can also be funded with the apprenticeship levy.

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But his friends will now have to uncover other ways to reach what he has, mainly because this experiment in funding EMBAs as a variety of apprenticeship has occur to an end.

These senior leadership apprenticeships attracted controversy mainly because of the use of levy money for a small business masters and mainly because entry-degree apprenticeships for faculty leavers declined sharply soon after the levy was released in April 2017. EDSK, a think-tank, labelled the senior leadership qualification a “fake” apprenticeship. Since September, it has no longer been feasible for new senior leadership apprentices to fund a masters with levy dollars.

Demand from customers for EMBAs in the British isles rose swiftly soon after the levy was released. Only all-around 500 persons graduated from EMBA courses in the 2017-18 tutorial calendar year, in accordance to the Chartered Affiliation of Small business Colleges (Cabs). This summer season there were being fifteen,000.

The maximize is partly down to a rise in programs due to the fact the pandemic, though the levy was a substantial component, claims Robert MacIntosh, Cabs chair and faculty pro vice-chancellor for small business and law at Northumbria College in north-east England. “Lots of member universities had government and aspect-time MBA programmes that were being having difficulties, then instantly they uncovered they had grown like topsy,” he claims.

Lorraine Stockle, affiliate director of talent acquisition for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at US telecoms corporation Verizon, also benefited from a levy-funded EMBA, graduating in August from the senior chief apprenticeship programme at Henley Small business University in southern England. “When I observed the possibility to get a excellent qualification with a truly good small business faculty, it appeared nuts not to choose it,” she claims. “But I also did it to update my abilities.”

The apprenticeship policies meant Stockle had to choose time out from her performing working day to go to lessons, instead than attending at weekends as is normal for EMBA pupils. A person profit of the qualification has been to broaden her community at Verizon. “I now do stakeholder mapping, in which I am contemplating about every person I will need to engage with if I want to roll out an initiative,” she claims. “The EMBA gave me a justification to [meet] with unique stages of management to recognize their views.”

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

The College of Exeter Small business University in south-west England had stopped operating an EMBA mainly because of a lack of candidates soon after the levy utilization improve. On the other hand, demand for the senior leadership apprenticeship programme allow the faculty recreate the kind of aspect-time research its earlier EMBA cohorts would undertake for its standard MBA.

Since it launched the programme in 2018, in partnership with monetary products and services team JPMorgan, more than 500 persons have gained a levy-funded MBA from Exeter. Pupils have occur from a broader array of backgrounds than the faculty traditionally has attracted to its MBA lessons, together with the NHS and other general public-sector bodies.

“The largest profit of the apprenticeship programme as opposed with our MBA is the way it produced chances for persons who would not have accomplished this ahead of,” claims Rachael Johnstone, director of degree apprenticeships. “It also integrates research with the workplace in a way MBA programmes often do not. The employer will get on board.”

Funding MBAs from dollars that may possibly have offered workplace education for faculty leavers was often heading to be controversial. On the other hand, Exeter’s MBA team come to feel it is way too early to say whether or not demand for EMBAs will slide. Stuart Robinson, affiliate dean for specialist education, notes that Exeter has enrolled about 70 pupils as senior leadership apprentices for the new tutorial calendar year. “What we are unable to see is how lots of persons will be willing to enhance to the MBA, despite the fact that from the discussions we have had I think it will be the vast majority,” he claims.

At Exeter, despite the fact that it will now price an excess £4,000-£5,000 to obtain an MBA soon after the apprenticeship programme, it will be simpler for pupils as it can be accomplished at weekends, instead than during workplace several hours less than the apprenticeship levy rule, Johnstone notes.

Pupils can also choose a broader assortment of courses to obtain their EMBA credits than are readily available less than the apprenticeship programme. “We can begin with a blank web site and say, ‘What type of troubles do you want to offer with for your organisation?’” Johnstone adds.

MacIntosh is more sceptical. “The senior leadership apprenticeship acquired a scale mainly because it was a truly profitable formula. It was a excellent funding system and it served universities with what they were being truly having difficulties with — acquiring big ample cohorts on their EMBA programmes,” he claims.

“Investing in your management abilities is a good idea for employers, but there is a ton of stress on corporation finances, which signifies it is often not seen as a pressing ample issue. Getting rid of the incentive the apprenticeship levy gave is a real mis-phase.”