Degree apprenticeships – pathway to success

By 8th July 2022 Blog

Marie Slater shares her experience of doing a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship


Marie Slater is the Technical Team Leader of Fashion Technology and Innovation at the Manchester Fashion Institute (MFI), Manchester Metropolitan University. She began the CMI Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) alongside her BA (Hons) Business Management Professional with Fashion pathway in 2018, graduating this January.

The CMDA assesses 16 core knowledge and skills competencies, covering core bases that encompass organisational performance, behaviours, and interpersonal and personal excellence. Each competency is evidenced in a digital portfolio that charts the student’s development through 20% ‘off-the-job’ study.

Marie experienced a steep learning curve during her studies which came with some difficulties but she says: “I completed things I never thought I would, including speaking at an IST (Institute of Science and Technology) conference and writing an article for their magazine, and I was also nominated for awards.”

Marie encourages anyone thinking of doing the CMDA to do a simple risk analysis, as life’s circumstances are bound to include various challenges and demands, which for Marie included personal loss, the Covid-19 pandemic, moving house, and her team doubling from six to twelve in her final year. 

Reflecting on her own experiences, Marie developed a credit card sized resource for students who may be in need of mental health support, which poses wellbeing questions on one side and potential solutions on the reverse.

“I had to look at my own wellbeing, this has helped me understand that all our students have their own circumstances.”

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, Marie’s team had to cascade information up from the ground, in order for the practical subject of Fashion Design and Technology to continue offering quality and value to the students in spite of the challenging circumstances. 

Marie said: “We had to inform academics how they would go about teaching as they weren’t allowed onto campus. My team had to work out how we were going to induct students, teach six instead of 25 at a time, and keep new Level 4 students sitting down at sewing machines without them moving around. We had to work it all out.”

It was during this period that Marie pushed for MFI technicians to be added to the course website, highlighting the vital, practical support they give students.

Marie said: “Opportunities are endless to better support your team that will better support students. We will continue to do this by continually improving resources.”

Head here to find out more about apprenticeships.