Stepping Up programme

Stepping Up programme

What Stepping Up is

Stepping Up is a region wide positive action award winning leadership programme aimed at changing the diversity leadership landscape across the public, voluntary and commercial sector 

Stepping Up 2020 is open to BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) and equality groups.

How it works for participants

When you’re on the programme you’ll stay in your current job.  Stepping Up is not a secondment or job. You’ll get a learning contract signed by your employer and Bristol City Council which provides complete clarity regarding roles and expectations.

Your employer will have needed to pledge support for you to attend and to release you to attend the Stepping Up integrated leadership development experience.

The Stepping Up leadership development experience portfolio includes:

  • 6 academic modules: each module consists of 2 days, a total of 12 days. The curriculum is supported by a Stepping Up faculty of high-level experts in their field, speakers from host organisation and facilitators who will support interactive group work
  • action learning sets will take place on day 2 of the modules and will be tailored to the specific learning needs of the equality groups
  • project or stretch assignment (6 to 10 days) ideally undertaken in an organisation outside of your current organisation
  • mentoring (6 times by 2 hours), you’ll be assigned a mentor from outside your own organisation, mentoring sessions will be a combination of face to face, skype and email
  • workshops mentoring and career management (2 days) will be offered

How to apply

You’ll need to:

  • be from a BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) background or other equalities group
  • have experience of leading teams and ideally be working at team leader, middle management or have the potential to do so
  • have experience of community leadership in a voluntary capacity or self employed 
  • have the potential to “step up” to a senior level post within the next few years and have 5 years left before retirement

It’s difficult to specify clearer criteria as sponsoring employers may wish to set their own criteria.

Bristol City Council employees don’t need to ask their line manager for approval.

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

If you wish to view the 50+ partner organisations across public, commercial and voluntary sectors who support Stepping Up see page 8 of the Stepping Up brochure (pdf, 3.2MB) (opens new window).

Participant qualifications:

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

Person specification

You will be required to submit your CV (no more than 3 pages) and a supporting statement (no more than 300 words).  Your CV and supporting statement should give examples against each of the person specification criteria:

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

Recruitment opens in December 2020. Apply on our jobs and careers website


Briefing for potential participants and for interested managers will be held at City Hall, College Green, Bristol, at the following dates and times: 

Briefing for managers and potential candidates

13 January 2020
11am to 12:30pm UGP22
Go to the online event registration 13 January 2020 (Eventbrite)

Briefing for potential candidates

9 December 2019
11:30am to 1pm 1P03
Go to the online event registration 11:30am to 1pm 9 January 2020 (Eventbrite)

1:30pm to 3pm 4D01
Go to the online event registration 1:30pm to 3am 9 January 2020 (Eventbrite)


16 December 2019
10am to 11:30pm UGP22
Go to the online event registration 10am to 11.30pm 16 January 2020 (Eventbrite)


17 December 2019
11:30am to 1pm UGP22
Go to the online event registration 11:30am to 1pm 17 December 2020 (Eventbrite)

5pm to 6:30pm 3P04
Go to the online event registration 5pm to 6.30pm 17 December 2020 (Eventbrite)


Briefing for Managers

7 January 2020
1:30pm – 3pm 1P08
Go to the online event registration 7 January 2020 (Eventbrite)


Employers may also hold their own information sessions.
To attend the briefing or find out more email:
There’s an introductory workshop for managers whose team members have been successful in securing a place on Stepping Up. The date will be advertised when the recruitment process has been completed.

How Stepping Up is funded

The cost for attending Stepping Up is £2,500.

Participants will be funded by their employer, who must agree to fund 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.

Bursaries will be available to participants who are from not for profit (charities) organisations, self employed and if applicable other employees. Each application for a bursary will be considered on a case by case basis

Management certificate

For Bristol City Council employees there will be an option for Stepping Up participants to access the ILM Level 5 as part of the levy scheme.  We recommend that if this option is pursued that commencement correspondents with the final stages of the programme.   This is to ensure that the qualification does not cause pressure to the participants in terms of study and work commitment

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 project/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

If a Bristol City Council participant already holds a degree in a related subject consideration may be given to study for an MBA accessed via the apprenticeship levy

  • Participants from other employers may be also be able to access the above qualifications but this will need to be explored on a case by case basis.

The role of line manager

Line managers should:

  • hold regular conversations with their line managers
  • encourage participants to keep a learning journal to support reflective study and record progress of career goals 
  • ensure development and career goals become part of the participants performance and development process


There will be a graduation ceremony at the end of the Stepping Up Programme.

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor will preside over the Graduation Ceremony and present each participant with their Stepping Up certificate.

After the programme

What happens after the programme finishes:

  • Career movement. Participants are encouraged to develop their self-confidence and strive to achieve career movement as a result of the leadership programme. It’s not the intention that participants will be allocated a new job in their organisation on completion of the programme. 
  • Each employer will have their own policy regarding fast tracking or positive action in respect of Stepping Up participants.
  • Bristol City Council's participants will be encouraged to utilise their Stepping Up career passport as evidence of wider development to access internal opportunities and talent process.
  • Stepping Up regionwide talent pipeline
  • A key outcome from Stepping Up is the creation of a diverse talent pool and civic leaders who can contribute to inclusive growth within the region and such roles as Magistrates, Trustee and Non-Executive Directors, and Community leaders.