Stepping Up programme

Stepping Up programme

1. What is Stepping Up?

Stepping Up is a Positive Action Programme aimed at improving the representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, disabled people and women in senior leadership roles within Bristol and the wider region.

2. How it works

When you’re on the programme you’ll stay in your current job. Employers around the city have pledged support to release their employees to attend the 30 days of development experience.

The 30 days development is:

  • five modules (10 days),  each module consists of 2 days of face to face learning, individual and group, key speakers from employers 
  • stretch assignment (15 days), a project or consultancy in a different organisation.  You’ll get a training contract to ensure that all legislative requirements are met . You can discuss how the assignment is delivered. It could be 1 day a week or 2 to 3 days a week, for up to 15 days
  • peer learning  (2 days), they’ll be 3 peer learning groups with other Stepping Up candidates.  You'll meet for half a day between modules, to explore learning challenges
  • mentoring (3 days), you’ll be assigned a mentor from outside your own organisation. Mentoring sessions will be a mix of face to face, skype and email

3. Who can apply

You’ll need to be from a BME background, be a disabled person or a woman.

You’ll need to have experience of leading teams and be working at team leader or middle management level.  You should be able to “step up” to a senior level post within 1 to 3 years, and with 5 years left before retirement.

It’s difficult to specify clearer criteria as we have over 50 partner organisations  across public, commercial, and voluntary sectors.  For a full list of employers who are getting involved, see page 8 of the Stepping Up brochure (pdf, 3.2MB) (opens new window)

Ideally, we’re looking for applicants to be educated to “A” level standard. Some applicants may also hold a degree or professional qualifications relevant to their sector or role.

In your CV and at interview you should demonstrate:

  • leadership experience, at team level, in work or in a voluntary capacity
  • motivation 
  • empathy
  • communication
  • critical thinking
  • negotiation and influence

4. Briefings and workshops 

Briefing for potential participants

There will be a briefing for potential candidates, to be arranged in December 2019.
Employers can also hold their own information sessions.

To attend the briefing or find out more email:

Introductory event for line managers of participants

There’s an introductory workshop for managers whose team members have been successful in securing a place on Stepping Up.

This introductory workshop will be advertised when the recruitment process has been completed.

Line managers will be encouraged to attend their team member’s presentations and engage with them on their learning journey.

Email if you want to contacted when recruitment begins with details of the recruitment process.  

5. How to apply

Apply on our jobs website between November and December 2019.

Bristol City Council employees don't need to ask for line manager approval to apply.

Applicants from outside the council will be expected to have either been nominated by their employer, or the applicant has told their employer of their intention to apply.

6. How it’s funded

Participants will be funded by their employer, who must agree the £2,500 per employee fee to attend the programme before applying.
Bristol City Council applicants will be funded from the Council’s Corporate Fund.

We’ll be offering bursaries to those employees in not for profit (charities) organisations and possibly other employees on a case by case basis.  

7. Leadership and management certificate

There’ll also be an optional invitation to participants on Stepping Up to access the ILM Level 5 or CMI or MBA or equivalent.  

If your employer is part of the apprenticeship levy scheme you’ll be able to access ILM certificate and other qualifications.

To achieve this qualification, you’ll have to:

  • achieve 13 credits (3 to 5 courses) from the list of 30+ management and leadership courses
  • complete one written work based assignment of 9 to 10 pages
  • use the stretch assignment as a work based assignment
  • commit to 4 to 6 hours of self-study per week to complete the qualification within 6 months

8. Mentoring and coaching

Participants will be matched with an external mentor from another organisation.  A Mentoring Workshop will be facilitated by Centre for Mentoring and Coaching. Employers may also wish to put in place internal mentoring or shadowing.  

Coaching opportunities may also be available through the NHS Coaching Network and Coaching Providers.  Access to coaching will depend on the development needs identified as part of the individual personal development plan.  

If coaching support exceeds the projected 30 days of development, participants would need to get their employers support.

The role of employers

Participants will be asked to hold regular conversations with their line managers. Participants will be encouraged to produce a diary or journal to update as part of their learning and to keep their employer fully informed on progress and impact.

9. After the programme is over

After the programme is completed, there will be a graduation ceremony. Participants who successfully completed the ILM level 5 Certificate in Leadership and Management will also be presented with their certificate if the course has been completed by this date.

It’s not the intention that participants will look for, or expect a new job in their organisation, or indeed outside of their organisation at the end of the programme.  Opportunities may arise and there could be movement because of the profile of the development experience.     

Each employer will have their own policy regarding fast-tracking or positive action in respect of Stepping Up participants.  Bristol City Council's intent is to offer interview or development opportunities to support onward career progression.