Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Business School

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Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship with Nestlé UK

Unique to the food and drink industry, this apprenticeship combines degree requirements with hands-on experiential learning within Nestlé UK to shape tomorrow’s business leaders.

Call to Action

Working with Sheffield Business School, Nestlé offers its employees the triple guarantee of a quality degree, on the job experience, and a professional pathway for future development. The three-year program offers students the chance to combine a business and management degree with practical experience across four commercial functions: sales, marketing, HR, and supply chain.

On successful completion of the scheme, the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) apprentices will gain a degree from Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), be offered a permanent job by Nestlé, and become a professional member of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The CMDA was developed by a group of 40 employers and universities and supported by the CMI. The SHU and Nestlé program was the first-of-its-kind CMDA in the country.

The CMDA is aimed at helping to meet the requirements of a growing U.K. economy, which needs more than one million new managers by 2020.

Dame Fiona Kendrick, chair of Nestlé UK and Ireland, said, “The CMDA forms part of our commitment to growing and developing our future business leaders, and offers an alternative entry point to a career for young, talented [graduates]. The combination of practical and commercial experience at Nestlé and academic excellence at Sheffield Hallam is giving young people the skills they need to become the successful business leaders of the future.”

Innovation Description

This innovative new model enables graduates to find their vocation far earlier than a traditional model would allow. It brings together the best of higher and vocational education and gives students the opportunity to make a direct contribution to the business, while gaining an academic and industry-recognized qualification.

The program is designed to be completed in three years, delivered by block release and on-the-job experiential learning.

Apprentices work full time and bring their learning, experience, and knowledge into the classroom when they study at SHU. Partnership and teamwork have been crucial at every stage:

  • Key staff from the Nestlé academy and SHU’s program team worked closely to create the framework and content for each module to both meet business needs and be academically robust.
  • The course incorporates Nestlé’s specific business practices, processes, and leadership framework to ensure the degree responds to the needs of the business.
  • Apprentices work across four key areas of the Nestlé business, which are incorporated into academic learning. Their insights also inform final-year projects and post-degree permanent roles at Nestlé.
  • Apprentices take part in two major applied business consultancy projects, chosen by Nestlé, applying business theory to solve real-world challenges.
  • SHU also supports Nestlé’s recruitment process for selecting candidates to the course.


To date, the impacts of the innovation have been plentiful.

For Nestlé, the program offers:

  • A new model to attract, recruit, develop, and retain the best talent.
  • Better return on their investment in training—higher loyalty levels experienced through apprenticeship schemes compared to traditional graduate recruits.
  • Highly skilled, motivated employees who understand operations, business challenges, and corporate culture.

Other outcomes of the project for the students and beyond include:

  • A total of 33 students are now enrolled in the program.
  • • The first cohort of nine students to graduate achieved five first-class and four upper-division honors degrees.
  • Since September 2017, Nestlé and SHU have developed a second CMDA pathway for factory-based management apprentices and are recruiting a total of 22 students each year across the two pathways.
  • The initiative supports the “Nestlé Needs Youth” commitment.
  • Input from Nestlé in the development of the SHU's MEng in food manufacturing degree.
  • Helps the food and drink manufacturing sector to address aging workforce challenges by developing a model applicable across the sector.
  • Informed the development of the Provider Readiness Report offering guidance to other degree apprenticeship providers by sharing SHU’s learning.
  • Informed the development of a SHU open-access CMDA course for nine other organizations and a model for developing other degree apprenticeships across SHU.
  • Nestlé and SHU are now recognized as being at the forefront of apprenticeships.


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