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There are multiple ways into management. You may start early, by getting onto an apprenticeship scheme and slowly working your way up; you may have a part-time job whilst you’re studying which offers you an exciting opportunity; or you can join a structured management training scheme.

Whichever route you take, remember it’s important to continue your learning. Getting a position is only the first step, becoming an excellent manager requires specific skills and an in-depth understanding of the business and sector.

Vocational courses

Management apprenticeships are employer-led training for young people aspiring to be mangers, using on-the-job training supported by additional learning. Open to anyone over the age of 16, you can earn money whilst gaining new skills.

Unlike other qualifications, apprenticeships have no fixed time period for completion. However, they are usually last between one and four years.

Examples include:

  • CMI Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Team Leading.

Academic courses

Any degree subject can be applied to a management role. In some cases, certain subjects may put you in a slightly better position due to the skills they cultivate or the sector you wish to join. See our skills article to know what to highlight in your application for management jobs.

Campus CMI

For those of you that are interested in management from an early age or whilst still at university, why not get involved in Campus CMI?

Campus CMI gives you the opportunity to earn a CMI professional management and leadership qualification whilst studying. Not only will this give you recognition of and support for your management and leadership skills but will also set you apart from the competition.

Anyone studying through Campus CMI and those aged between 14-21 obtain free student membership to CMI. This allows access to the CMI online library of over 170,000 videos, books, articles and other resources which can add value to any subject.

For more information, visit Campus CMI.

Postgraduate courses

The Open University is the biggest UK provider, especially of postgraduate qualifications, but several other UK academic institutions have large intakes for management studies at first and/or second degree levels. Some universities which offer management courses include University of Glasgow, Newcastle University, University of Birmingham, London South Bank, Bournemouth University, Cardiff University, Manchester Met and King’s College London.

The Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is perhaps the best known postgraduate degree linked to management, but MBA graduates do not seek entry level management posts, as they need previous management experience to join most UK and European MBA courses. MBA graduates usually seek executive or consultancy posts.

Work experience and internships

You will find placements in larger companies such as those listed below. However, many graduates work their way up into management from more junior roles such as supervisor. If you are in a work environment which you enjoy and could see you future in, let your manager know. If you have proven yourself to be a capable employee you may be put forward for any opportunities that come up. This more informal route should not be underestimated as many jobs are filled through knowing the right person.

Companies in The Times Top 100 graduate employers include:

Public sector Not-for-profit Finance & business Retail, food & drink Engineering Other
Network Rail Oxfam Lloyds Banking Group Aldi Rolls-Royce Sky
Royal Navy Cancer Research UK HSBC Arcadia Group Ltd Nuclear Graduates Sony
Transport for London Santander McDonalds Npower BT
National Grid RBS Sainsburys EDF Energy
MI5 Barclays Mars E.on
Met Police Marks & Spencer Centrica
NHS Lidl
The Co-operative

Graduate training schemes

Companies recruit new graduates into management annually, and often focus more on candidates’ degree class, skills levels and personal attitudes than on subject of degree. Management or business-related degrees are increasingly popular and can sometimes provide you with an advantage.

In addition to the usual recruiting channels, employers also use the annual ‘Milk Round’ and to visit universities and careers fairs. These fairs give prospective candidates an opportunity to talk to prospective employers, and are often held at individual universities or organisations during the summer.

Take a look at our jobs board and Employer A-Z to see who to apply to or our events calendar to see if there are any fairs near you.

Career progression

Becoming a chartered manager

How do you demonstrate that you are a good manager?

As a way of ensuring standards in management professionals, the CMI run the Chartered Manager scheme. Through this process you have to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills to be a good manager.

If you have existing experience and have work to submit to the assessors, this can be achieved in 2-6 months.

For more information, visit the CMI’s management training and qualification pages.

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