The British Army is offering its soldiers the chance to study for a university degree in management and leadership. The new initiative is part of the national degree apprenticeship scheme and delivered by the University of Portsmouth.

Experienced in the delivery of apprenticeships at Levels 2-4, this is the first time that the Army has offered an apprenticeship at degree level. Soldiers working towards the management and leadership degree apprenticeship will be able to apply their learning and bring real value into the Army. As part of CGS’ Maximising Talent Portfolio, this scheme represents the continued investment by the Army in developing talented soldiers to meet management and leadership challenges – now and in the future.

Degree apprenticeships were introduced in 2015 as a way of increasing the number of people with specific knowledge, skills and behaviour required by UK employers. Students gain a degree, as well as developing skills valuable to the organisation. All fees are entirely paid from the employer’s Apprenticeship Levy – the only investment needed is the time commitment required by students and their organisation mentors.

“This is a really exciting development. The programme aims to provide a genuine learning and development opportunity to upskill our workforce” said Major Rachel Lamont. “It’s targeted at our senior soldiers as they are often in key leadership appointments and will add considerable value to those they command, inspiring, educating and better managing the future talent of our organisation.”

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the individuals and the Army as we continue to grow and develop as a learning organisation.”  Rachel Lamont, British Army Major

Building on existing knowledge and experience gained on the job, the programme supports the development of leadership and management skills, applying academic studies to real work challenges. Upon completion of the programme, soldiers will graduate with an Honours Degree in Leadership and Management, as well as gaining the prestigious Chartered Manager status – awarded by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The University of Portsmouth’s challenge was to develop competence as well as intelligence, and a teaching style to suit geographically dispersed students on varying work patterns who could not rely on access to the Internet. The course has been designed so soldiers can study wherever they are based in the world. There is an intensive residential period at the start of each academic year where topics are introduced and explored using a variety of teaching methodologies that is followed by lecturers facilitating online discussions and host group online video conference sessions once a week to support soldiers’ progress. Each soldier has an allocated Army Employer mentor, who will closely support their learning and development.

Nick Capon, Course Developer, said that the course will allow soldiers to “develop an in-depth knowledge of strategic management and leadership that will bring greater understanding and allow them to bring new ideas to their role in the Army.” Nick added “It’s a fantastic opportunity for talented Army personnel who may not yet have a formal, degree-level qualification but have years’ worth of on-the-job practical experience in leadership and management.”

The Army had an overwhelming response from soldiers wishing to participate in this programme. Individuals were chosen from across the Army representing a wide cross-section of ‘cap badges’ and trades from those who serve in the infantry to communication and logistic specialists, medics, engineers and equipment technicians.


This article first appeared in the 2018 State of the Relationship report, commissioned by Research England and compiled and published by NCUB.