CMdegreeapprentice (3)

Chartered manager trainees ‘look beyond’ to learn about leadership


University of Cumbria wants people to ‘Look Beyond’ and discover there’s more to apprenticeships than meets the eye.

Government figures show that growing numbers of learners are opting to upskill by embarking on higher and degree level apprenticeships, helping to make a greater contribution to existing businesses and organisations.

Delivered by higher education institutions, they result in apprentices - many of whom are aged 25 or over - being able to achieve university level qualifications whilst applying their learning to their role at work.

Working with employers, University of Cumbria continues to develop its portfolio of degree apprenticeships to help address the increasing demand for higher-level skills across the county and north-west region.

Those close to completing their Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship at University of Cumbria, have this week – during National Apprenticeship Week 2020 - met with long-serving Chief Superintendent Andy Towler from Cumbria Constabulary.

University of Cumbria leadership senior lecturer Dr Steve Gibbs said: “It is critical to learning that our students can meet practitioners, people like Andy who have many years of experience in real-life leadership situations.”

Former teacher Ruth Hawkin, from Northumberland, has seen the size of her family’s Haltwhistle-based electronics design and software company Evolto double since she began her University of Cumbria Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship in 2018.

She said: “We’re a very value-led business and that has been a running theme in our session with Andy Towler, focusing on knowing who you are and being willing to stand by your values.

“The apprenticeship is having a very positive impact on our business. We’ve grown, doubled in size, and my role leading on the business side of things means my husband can now focus on the technical side as that’s his area of expertise.”

Cumbria Police Chief Superintendent Andy Towler is currently seconded to the university’s Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership, which works with employers to deliver higher level apprenticeships across the region and beyond in a variety of areas including health, policing, business, and tourism and the visitor economy.

A new degree apprenticeship in project management is being launched at the institution’s London campus next month and around the same time, the University of Cumbria is also due to welcome its first recruits to a police constable degree apprenticeship.

Education and skills regulator Ofsted judged the quality of University of Cumbria’s apprenticeship provision as good in 2019 and the institution has ambitions to double its apprenticeship numbers over the next few years.

Professor Julie Mennell, vice chancellor of University of Cumbria, said: “In Cumbria and the broader region we have significant higher level skills needs and lower than national average productivity levels to address.

“We are proud of our position at the heart of the region, and we continue to develop employer, education and sector partnerships that support our vision of a dynamic, creative and entrepreneurial university community, with impact on our economy and communities.

“Higher-level apprenticeships are a key part of this offer and we have seen steady growth in this area as well as across our international, off campus and employer-led provision.”

Working closely with the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, the university has a clear strategic focus to support its Skills Investment Plan.



  1. University of Cumbria Chartered Manager Degree Apprentices with leadership senior lecturer Dr Steve Gibbs and Chief Superintendent Andy Towler, of Cumbria Police


2. Ruth Hawkin, of Haltwhistle-based electronics design and software company Evolto, who is in her final year of her University of Cumbria Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship

3. University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell



  1. Chartered Manager is the highest status that can be achieved in the management profession.
  2. Latest apprenticeship statistics published by the House of Commons library can be viewed here.
  3. ‘Look Beyond’, the theme for National Apprentice Week (#NAW2020), supports University of Cumbria’s focus on people, place and partnerships, celebrating too the diversity and value that apprenticeships bring to employers, individuals and communities.
  4. Further information about apprenticeships with University of Cumbria can be found here.
  5. For further information, contact the university communications team.