PgDip Business Administration (Senior Leaders Apprenticeship)

Start date(s)
September 2023
January 2023
Study mode
Part-time (2 years)

About this course

This Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship programme provides an opportunity to gain business skills whilst in employment.

  • You will be studying 120 credits of an MBA programme as part of your apprenticeship (this is a PGDip in Business Administration)
  • Opportunity to self-fund a top-up (60 credits) to achieve a full MBA qualification upon completion of this programme. 
  • Delivered in blocks for extra flexibility and to fit studies around existing commitments. 
  • Benefit from research-based teaching and assignments that investigate real issues in your own workplace.
  • Senior Leaders Apprenticeship is designed for those with at least 3 years management experience.

This Senior Leaders Apprenticeship (SLA) is designed to transform participants into confident and strategic leaders. It focuses on the practice of leadership and management, has a real-world focus and is delivered by staff who are respected experts, researchers, consultants and business practitioners.

This programme has been carefully crafted to cluster the knowledge, skills and behaviour standards into a set of facilitated modules over 4 semesters (years 1 and 2).  If you opt to top-up to the full MBA qualification, you will undertake a supervised, business project researching a strategic issue in your workplace.


Reflecting on and showing evidence of a strategic learning journey and skills development is a key part of the apprenticeship philosophy and good leadership and management development practice.

Throughout the learning phase (semester 1-4), you will need to complete a portfolio evidencing how you have met the knowledge, skills and behaviours required of the Senior Leader Apprenticeship standard. 

You will also prepare a strategy business case proposal with a presentation and professional discussion about your portfolio for the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) End Point Assessment.

Fees and funding


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

You will see a marked improvement on your day-to-day performance, confidence and learning in the workplace, as well as improvements in your ability to demonstrate new skills learnt during the course of your studies. By combining experience with new management thinking developed over the lifetime of your apprenticeship, you will see improvements in decision-making, contributions to idea generation and strategic business thinking.

It is expected that Senior Leader Apprentices will use the confidence and skills they have developed on the programme to achieve their aspirations and move more quickly up the career ladder within their organisations.

Another benefit of studying with Liverpool Business School is joining a network of senior professionals. This enables you to continue building meaningful, long-term relationships beyond the classroom, as part of the Liverpool Leadership Network.

The student experience

Discover life as a postgraduate student at LJMU.

Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.

Please note:

This course is currently undergoing its scheduled programme review, which may impact the advertised modules. Programme review is a standard part of the University’s approach to quality assurance and enhancement, enabling us to ensure that our courses remain up to date and maintain their high standard and relevancy.

Once the review is completed, this course website page will be updated to reflect any approved changes to the advertised course. These approved changes will also be communicated to those who apply for the course to ensure they wish to proceed with their application.

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Core modules

Scholarly Business Practice
10 credits

You will gain a critical insight into the nature of scholarly business learning and applying practice at masters level.  You will learn how to apply conceptual frameworks to learning, gaining skills and confidence in studying at masters level. You will learn to critically examine organisational situations and the impact this can. 

Leadership, Engagement and Development
20 credits

You will explore theoretical perspectives of leadership and will critically reflect on your own leadership. Effective leadership is a key contributor to organisational success, and this module will help you to gain a deeper understanding of this. You will also consider psychological and behavioural factors in a leadership context and will consider the impact that this has on others. Your ability to motivate, foster collaboration and communicate with colleagues, teams, and other stakeholders to achieve organisational success will be enhanced by your learning in this module. 

Exploring Strategy for Organisations
30 credits

[You will develop an understanding of strategic vision, strategic planning processes and behaviours that create value in sustainable and high performing organisations. You will develop the ability to analyse internal capabilities and resources to respond to the external environment, taking into account global perspectives, social, technological and policy implications to build a robust strategic plan.

Operationalising the strategy
30 credits

You will assess the relationship between strategy and practice in operationalising a business opportunity. You will study a variety of operational activities such as financial management, communications and operations and will develop a holistic approach to understanding the application of strategy. You will learn the importance of a systemic approach to identify, understand and analyse challenges and opportunities for operationalising strategies across key business functions in an integrative manner.

Transforming Organisations
20 credits

You will identify and develop opportunities to enhance performance and initiate transformational change within organisations. Studying a variety of related areas, including innovation, change management and digitalisation, and develop strategies to apply them to improve and transform their organisation.

Applied Business Research
10 credits

You will develop an understanding of how to design and produce applied business research by working as a scholarly-practitioner on projects. This module supports and provides the foundations for the applied business consultancy project.


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

The course is taught in a block of three days each month over two semesters, which amounts to approximately 18 full days classroom-based teaching per year. The philosophy of teaching is 'flipped learning' which means apprentices have to commit to background reading and engaging with variety of online resources, so they can attend classes fully prepared to participate in case-study discussions and other learning activities.

You also have to devote time to the additional 'Off the Job Training' requirements of your apprenticeship, which includes developing the evidence needed for your portfolio and working with your mentors.

Teaching methods

At the centre of our philosophy is the notion that we learn best from experience and applying our learning, so action learning and coaching are a key part of our programmes. This approach also encourages strong peer learning groups where you can learn from your peers, in recognition of the fact that management and leadership development is a social and collaborative process.

The workplace is at the heart of apprenticeship learning. Consequently, everybody brings their experience from their area of expertise with them and you will be encouraged to share how your learning has been applied and improved practice in your workplace. The programme is personalised to individuals so that you can apply your learning to your own workplace projects and tasks. 

Learning approaches include:

The workplace as the centre of learning

Apprentices will apply ideas in the workplace, improving their skills through a range of workplace activities and then reflecting and reviewing this practice with peers on the programme. All the assessments are applied and related to the individuals’ own workplace.

Self-development planning

Organisational processes can be applied to ensure that individuals plan to develop in line with apprenticeship standards, with the guidance of your mentors.

A 'flipped learning’ approach

This reverses the conventional process of teaching by providing the content prior to the teaching and learning session using a virtual learning environment, so that the focus of the workshop becomes about active learning and application of theory to practice.

Applied learning

We work closely with participants to support their work on real-world projects and gathering evidence for the portfolio. This includes using assignments, work-based project examples and witness testimony to demonstrate the participant’s strategic development journey. A strong emphasis is placed on the workplace as a place to learn; participants integrate key concepts and theories, assessing the impact of these on their own working environment.

The ability to analyse organisational issues and apply recommendations supported by a theoretical framework is fundamental and is assessed in all elements of the programme.

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Action learning

This will be adopted as a supportive and collaborative approach to learning to manage. Action learning will be used to support personal development, where issues and challenges from the workplace can be discussed. This approach to management learning provides a forum to bring ideas, thoughts and issues and allow a collaborative learning process to develop ideas for action.

Work-based assignments

All assignments will relate to the workplace, giving you the opportunity to apply your learning to your organisational context and work towards the level 7 apprenticeship standards.

Should you opt to top-up to the full MBA qualification, the final project dissertation is the opportunity to design an in-company project to ensure that business needs are met. It presents an opportunity for knowledge and skills to be applied to practice by delivering something of value to your organisation.


Key note speakers address current issues, emerging practice and thought leadership. The intent is to foster the need to be continually updating and engaging with the ways in which management in organisation is changing. 

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How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.

There are no exams on the academic programme, assessments are by written assignment and / or presentation. Academic assignments on this course are submitted electronically and assessed against the key marking criteria set out for each module.

As a requirement of your apprenticeship, you will attend an End-Point Assessment, which involves an interview and a presentation, in addition to the above. 

Course tutors

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

The School is based in the Redmonds Building, in the heart of the bustling Mount Pleasant Campus and Liverpool’s growing Knowledge Quarter. The building is home to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, social spaces, and a café. It is only a short walk from LJMU’s Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies, and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Liverpool Business School also has a dedicated Management Development Suite, based in a listed building in the historic Georgian Quarter of Liverpool and a short walk from the Redmonds Building. The building has recently undergone £1.2 million investment to provide a professional learning space.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

Admission to the programme is conditional on the applicant meeting the following:

  • you must be in employment with permission and support from your employer to attend classes and engage in 'Off the Job Training' activities
  • previous academic qualifications are less important for entry onto the programme, what we are looking for is your ability to contribute and share in the peer-learning activities
  • a minimum of 3 years leadership / management experience with the scope to determine strategy within your current role
  • GCSE Maths and English (or equivalents) either on entry to the programme or on the understanding they will be completed before the end of the apprenticeship

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Where English is not your first language, or your first degree was not taught and assessed wholly in English, an IELTS score of 6.5 must be achieved, with no individual score of less than 6. The programme complies fully with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

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Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

Please upload a CV with your application, detailing your leadership experience and your experience of contributing to strategic development in an organisation. 

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.

Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.