The first Executive MBA programme in England to use the Apprenticeship Levy has started today at Cranfield School of Management. For the first time, employers in England, who pay the Apprenticeship Levy, are able to access their Levy funds to pay for employees to access a world-class management education.

The programme will be delivered through a partnership between Cranfield School of Management and leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP. The partnership combines the best of academic insight and commercial application.

The announcement of the first cohort’s arrival follows the approval of the Level 7 Senior Leader Masters Degree Apprenticeship Standard by the Institute for Apprenticeships, which the Executive MBA will adhere to. This new apprenticeship has been developed by a group of more than 30 employers, led by Serco and Civil Service Learning, and supported by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). It adds to the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, which was launched in November 2015, and the team leader and operational manager apprenticeships launched in June 2016, providing a progression route for employers to invest in managers at all levels.

Since the launch of the Cranfield School of Management/Grant Thornton UK LLP partnership in March, hundreds of businesses have expressed interest in using their Apprenticeship Levy to invest in leadership and management skills through the Executive MBA.

Professor Paul Baines, Professor of Political Marketing and Director, Executive MBA, at the Cranfield School of Management said: “I’m delighted that Cranfield is today welcoming the first-ever cohort of Executive MBA students in England through the Apprenticeship Levy. As one of the first business schools to offer an MBA, it is only fitting that once again we are breaking new ground in management education by offering an MBA Mastership.”

“We have been inundated with businesses eager to learn how they can use their Apprenticeship Levy funds to access world-class management education.”

Justin Rix, Partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP, added: “The levels of interest and enthusiasm in the programme are a testament to the fact that leaders in the public, private and third sectors recognise the critical need to upskill their people to drive productivity, growth, and ensure sustainable, long-term results. This MBA programme offers a distinct opportunity for employers to do so in a way that’s beneficial to their people, their organisation and the wider economy.”

About Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms. These firms help dynamic organisations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful, forward-thinking advice. Proactive teams, led by approachable partners in these firms, use insights, experience and instinct to understand complex issues for privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and help them to find solutions. More than 38,500 Grant Thornton people, across over 120 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work. The UK Grant Thornton member firm provides services to over 40,000 privately held businesses, public interest entities and individuals. It is led by more than 185 partners and employs more than 4,600 of the profession's brightest minds.

Professor Paul Baines
Professor Paul Baines

About Cranfield University

Cranfield has been a world leader in management education and research for over 50 years, helping individuals and organisations learn and succeed by transforming knowledge into action. We are dedicated to creating responsible management thinking, improving business performance and inspiring the next generation of business leaders. We work to change the lives of our students and executives by encouraging innovation and creative thinking, as well as the drive to succeed and make a real impact on their organisations.

Organisations as diverse as Jaguar Land Rover, BAE Systems, Royal Dutch Shell, L’Oréal, UNICEF and the African Development Bank have benefited from our work, which ranges from management research projects, through staff talent management development on our MBA courses, to customised executive programmes.

Cranfield is one of an elite group of Schools worldwide to hold the triple accreditation of: AACSB International (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) and AMBA (the Association of MBAs).

We are in the Top 10 International Business Schools in the Forbes’ ranking.

Our open and customised executive education programmes are ranked in the top five in the UK, according to the latest Financial Times survey, and in the top ten in the world for international reach. Over 10,000 people come to Cranfield each year to benefit from our executive and professional development programmes.