City Leadership Programme

Information on the City Leadership Programme and how to apply.

Nominations for this year’s City Leadership Programme are now closed.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted a nomination.

The City Leadership Programme identifies and invests in the lives of high-ability, high-aspiration students from backgrounds of disadvantage and groups which are under-represented in leadership.

The aspiration of this programme is high.  It aims to be life-changing. The programme nurtures the participants’ leadership potential and accelerates their personal growth. Participants get the tools they need to target the top.  

This programme is a launch pad for future local, national and international leaders in business, politics and non-government organisations. 

The City Leadership Programme

The programme targets students in their first year of sixth form but will accept applications from upper sixth and year 11.

The curriculum takes students on a journey of

  • personal development
  • envisioning and life planning
  • academic enrichment
  • skills building
  • exposure and networking  

The students develop the emotional and technical tools they need to move from good to great.

The emphasis on personal development is a key feature.  

The challenges they and the world will face in the future require more than personal success.  We must invest in the kinds of leaders the world needs:

  • emotionally intelligent
  • engaged
  • knowledgeable
  • authentic 

Key aspects of the programme

  • 12-14 participants from diverse backgrounds
  • Two-week intensive summer course built around personal reading, academic enrichment, networking, exposure and skills-building (3 – 14 July 2017)
  • Five months of opportunity and mentoring provided by local leaders from business, politics and the public sector
  • A graduation dinner
  • An alumni network of participants and contributors

The programme succeeds because of the input of city leaders from across business, the public sector, politics and higher education.  

Our world-class roster of contributors includes leaders from education, politics and the business world, such as

  • Professor Hugh Brady (Vice-Chancellor, University of Bristol)
  • Kerry McCarthy (MP, Bristol East)
  • Alex Raikes (Director, SARI)
  • Norman Pascal (Former Chief Inspector, Avon & Somerset Police)
  • Patricia Greer (Chief Executive, West of England LEP)

The programme itself is designed to stand alone but we will plug into other development opportunities including those offered by leading universities and employers. 

Support the programme

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted by 5 May 2017. 

Students must be nominated by a teacher, lecturer or youth leader.

Students will have space in the form to tell us about their lives, interests and aspirations.  

A select number will be invited for interview.

Candidates will be notified whether they have a place on the programme by 12 June 2017.

Our Criteria

This programme is aimed at high-ability, high-aspiration students from backgrounds of socio-economic disadvantage and groups under-represented in leadership such as black and minority ethnic, women, disabled and young people in care.

We ask nominators to prioritise students from these backgrounds with the following qualities:

1. Background

Students are eligible for free school meals (or are on the Government's 16-19 Bursary Fund) and/or live within the postcodes identified as areas of multiple deprivation and/or those that attract the pupil premium or disadvantage uplift funding.

2. Attainment

Students have an average GCSE score of 50 or above and target A2 grades of 3 Bs or above.

3. Ability

Students are considered by their educators to be high-ability and high-aspiration and to have demonstrated a commitment to their own learning.

4. Leadership

Students have demonstrated leadership potential through their participation in school/college and/or extracurricular activity and would welcome the chance to complete the programme and participate in all activities.  Students have taken part in enrichment activity outside school/college which has made a difference (e.g. volunteering/charity/sport/service)

5. Resilience

Students have shown the ability to overcome.

The City Leadership Programme places a lot of weight on the reference provided by the student's referring teacher/organisation/lecturer.  We would welcome a conversation with anyone considering nominating a student to talk through the programme and the application process. 

The City Leadership Programme will not be appropriate for every student.  Our intention is that it sits within a wider tapestry of city programmes that together support the development of leadership at all levels.  

It is important that schools and colleges work with us to support unsuccessful applicants and build on their expressed desire to develop their leadership potential.  

To this end we would encourage nominating organisations to identify meaningful alternative opportunities for these students.

The Background

Bristol remains challenged by gender, race and class fractures.

Unquantifiable amounts of young talent are lost to the city every year in part because the social, economic and political structures that nurture leadership are not equally available to all. 

The City Leadership Programme aims to change this by bringing city institutions and businesses together to invest in Bristol's future as an inclusive, sustainable and thriving world city. 

The City Leadership Programme will break into this cycle by:

  • Giving the participants the tools they need to build their vision and skills and identify, develop and exploit opportunity
  • Creating the space for current leaders to connect with and begin investing in these young people.

The City Leadership Programme grows out of our belief that it is not good enough for political and business leaders to wait for the next generation of leaders to come about by social happenstance.  

We believe it is in our collective interest to take a proactive approach to growing the talent and values that will lead us tomorrow.  

We believe the leadership talent pool must be deeper and broader than it has historically been, both in the name of bringing the diversity of thought to our decision making tables that will be needed in a world of increasingly complex challenges, and as evidence of a fairer society.