New ‘levy-friendly’ version of Aston MBA apprenticeship

Aston Business School

12 March 2018

  • Businesses can cover costs for Aston Business School’s new Executive Apprenticeship MBA through apprenticeship levy spending
  • New levy cap means businesses can spend a max of £18,000 on Level 7 Senior Leader Masters Degree Apprenticeship programmes

Aston University has responded to the £18,000 cap on government funding for Senior Leader degree apprenticeship courses by introducing a new version of its Executive Apprenticeship MBA priced specifically to match the tariff.

The move means that senior leaders can easily access a customised version of Aston Business School’s triple-accredited Executive Apprenticeship MBA, ranked in the global top 40 MBA courses by CEO Magazine, by utilising the government’s degree apprenticeship levy fund.

The levy, applied to businesses with a payroll bill of over £3 million, is designed to encourage workforce investment in skills.

Professor Helen Higson, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Aston University, said: “The introduction of the levy cap for the Level 7 Senior Leader apprenticeship could see many reputable business schools drop plans to develop courses that comply with the levy.

“We believe in making our world-class courses as accessible as possible to all businesses, and our decision to develop a version of our sought after Executive Apprenticeship MBA at £18,000 will mean that businesses can access one of the world’s highest ranked MBA programmes without being affected by the cap.

“We hope the steps we have taken will encourage firms to consider us for developing their workforce and improving productivity.”

Professor George Feiger, Executive Dean of Aston Business School, said: “We are committed to supporting British industry as it invests in enhancing its leadership and management skills through the degree apprenticeship programme.

“We have redesigned our Executive Apprenticeship MBA using a blend of online and personal tutoring so that it suits the work schedule of students and allows us to charge a fee in line with the government’s price cap for the Level 7 management apprenticeship.

“We want to embody the agility that we endorse and teach in our programmes.”

The introduction of the new course is in reaction to a new fee cap set by the Institute for Apprenticeships ruling that businesses can spend no more than £18,000 of their allowance for apprenticeships on Level 7 Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship programmes. Companies booked on courses that exceed £18,000 will have to pay the difference from other funds.

Smaller businesses will continue to have access to funds to cover 90 per cent of Apprenticeship training. In a recent PwC survey, nearly a fifth of small businesses viewed skill shortages as the biggest barrier to productivity in their workforce. Aston University, which has a long history of working with businesses to improve their workforces, believes that degree apprenticeships can help address these shortages and transform their staff into future leaders.

Employers can find out more about Aston’s degree apprenticeship offer via the website -


Notes to the editor


About Degree Apprenticeships

  • Degree apprenticeships were established by the UK government as a way of increasing the level of investment by companies in the skills of the UK workforce.
  • They are funded by a levy of 0.5 per cent on UK payroll bills of £3m or more per year
  • Degree apprenticeship standards are designed by groups of companies to meet identified development needs amongst their workforce. The government sets the tariff for such courses.
  • Universities and private providers may then bid to deliver courses to companies designed to meet the needs laid down in the standards, and the companies can “pay” with the levy at the specified rate.
  • Non-levy paying businesses, largely SMEs, can also access government funding. They just need to pay 10 per cent of the cost of training and the government will top up the rest. Aston University will be running workshops for SMEs to help explain how they can access funding.

About Aston Business School’s Executive Apprenticeship MBA

  • An MBA with a difference: The Executive Apprenticeship MBA is a transformational MBA for managers. Based on the content of the Executive MBA programme, the version if specifically designed for those who want to accelerate their careers and immerse themselves into the principles of strategic thinking in the context of their current business.
  • The Executive Apprenticeship MBA syllabus implement your learning into your work from day one. Apprentices work full time for their employer and complete the MBA over a 30 month period through a combination of online workshops, expert mentoring and weekend residential sessions on campus. This gives them the opportunity to enrich their learning through discussion of current business issues and apply new skills and knowledge straight away in professional practice.
  • For more information, visit

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established research-led university known for its world-class teaching quality, and strong links to business and the professions. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston has been a leading university for graduate employment success for over 25 years and our students do extremely well in securing top jobs and careers.  Our strong relationships with industry partners mean we understand the needs of employers, which is why we are also ranked in the top 20 for graduate employability.

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