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What Our Apprentices Say

Senior Leader Apprenticeship

Chris Riding

Portfolio Director, Sage Group PLC 

"As I continue to develop in my career I have been looking for ways to grow and not just take on more training courses where I learn how to pass an exam at the end of a week, but can genuinely develop and stretch myself. When I found the senior leadership apprenticeship, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved – and have certainly found it met my aim to be challenged!

The Senior Leadership Apprenticeship has been a real development opportunity for me, stretching my learning and helping me contextualise what I have been taught into my business environment. The course has allowed me to step outside of my day to day activities and test my understanding of the subjects taught in both an academic and practical way. I have been able to embed skills I already have, build on these with lots of new ideas, and apply them practically.

Strong teaching, face to face in Durham, in group sessions, has allowed me to learn from subject leading academics and, as importantly, bounce ideas off a cohort from a mixture of businesses. The environment is academic, but relaxed, and is supported by a great team who ensure everything runs smoothly. Tutors have been responsive to questions and in providing support when needed both during teaching weeks and when needed during assignment writing. These experiences have given me the confidence to take ideas back into my workplace and apply themes and practice to work I am undertaking. This has brought value to the teams I lead and wider business as I continue to grow and nurture the skills shared.

Durham is a very reputable university, and their experience and prestige was a draw when looking for a provider for the apprenticeship. The team were really accommodating and helpful in getting our team onto the course and guiding us through the application process and I felt valued throughout. The range of resources available online make learning away from the university easy and is certainly an eye opener in its breadth and depth after all the time since I last studied!

Anyone considering taking on the apprenticeship should recognise the challenges as well as opportunities the Senior Leadership Apprentice offers. It is an intensive course, building on Durham’s experience in delivering MBA courses, which requires a good investment of time. Lecturing and module teaching is in weekly blocks, approximately two months apart, so you need to be able to commit to this, followed by the coursework and in work based activities to support. I personally have found the twenty percent off the job commitment of an apprenticeship has worked for me by blocking out time each week and being dedicated to this. Having other colleagues who you can take on the apprenticeship alongside has also been a great benefit, being able to share ideas, discuss reading and how we are each approaching our work. Sharing with apprentices from other businesses in your cohort is also great, allowing you to gain different insight – on week one we set up our whats app group and found this really useful!

I’d recommend this apprenticeship to anyone working in a business who is looking to challenge themselves, develop new skills in areas such as leadership and strategy and feel they can use this greater insight to grow their organisation".

University student
As I progress in my career and move into more senior roles I felt a need to gain a greater understanding of business outside of my background and experiences in software development. Doing the Senior Leader Apprenticeship is giving me the opportunity to explore new areas, and relate them back to my previous experiences and my business. The apprenticeship side also ensures I can look for additional opportunities within my business to stretch myself in ways that support my development in a more focused way.

Andy Ranson
Senior Leader Apprenticeship 2023
University student
At SMEs, access to additional education can be limited by budgets, the Senior Leader Apprenticeship is incredible value in terms of breadth of topics, depth of content and quality of academic staff.

Rory Armitage-Burns
Senior Leader Apprenticeship 2023