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Stepping Up


The Stepping Up programme is a leadership development programme for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues who work within healthcare (the NHS or an organisation providing NHS care).

It aims to create greater levels of sustainable inclusion within the NHS by addressing the social, organisational and psychological barriers restricting BAME colleagues from progressing.

The programme is designed to bridge the gap between where applicants are and where they need to be, to progress into more senior roles. Successful applicants will be empowered to drive forward the inclusion agenda and develop their skills and abilities in order to grow and progress.

The programme fits with the Academy’s wider body of powerful positive action work to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the health service. The ultimate aim is to develop more inclusive leaders at all levels of the NHS.ogramme for?

Who is the programme for? 

The Stepping Up programme is aimed at black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) leaders and aspiring BAME leaders across healthcare working in bands 5 to 7 or equivalent. It’s been designed for individuals who have an interest in developing their leadership abilities and want to be involved in creating a transformational change in equality and diversity across the healthcare sector.

The programme is spilt into two cohorts – one for bands 5 and 6 (or equivalent) and another for people in band 7 (or equivalent) roles.

Participants are welcomed from a range of organisations across the NHS including provider and commissioning organisations, Arm’s Length Bodies and national organisations.


If you’re a participant, The Stepping Up programme will help you: 

  • Prepare and develop for more senior leadership roles within the NHS
  • Challenge the diverse environment you work in to make transformational change
  • Develop the knowledge, experience and skills to help your organisation create an inclusive culture; and to also help you influence change across wider healthcare
  • Empower you to become a role model to help inspire the development and progression of others

 If you’re band 5 or 6 (or equivalent) you’ll:

  • Increase your self-awareness and the leadership strengths your diversity brings
  • Be introduced to a range of management principles
  • Develop your communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills
  • Learn about effective development strategies
  • Better understand organisational context so that you can shape and influence your career progression
  • Increase your motivation to thrive in your chosen role and/or progress further in your career

If you’re band 7 (or equivalent) you’ll:

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of leadership and management
  • Learn about the present state of the NHS and implications for managing transformational change
  • Gain an in-depth understanding of senior leadership requirements and the opportunity to craft your own authentic leadership style and approach
  • Gain an understanding of the factors that block and enable BAME progression and development
  • Understand the personal and organisational strategy that will be applied to your career development, and your ability to influence the healthcare system you work in to create greater equality
  • Understand how to use ‘yourself’ as a powerful instrument for change
  • Develop embodied leadership which looks at how people project themselves in ways that enable them to achieve their aspirations
  • Increase your motivation to progress further in your career

Key dates and locations for the programme

The programme runs over five months and two cohorts in London; each with two modules. Participants will benefit from a mix blend of learning, including face-to-face, self-directed and workplace-based. This includes two residential visits with a three-day and a two-day face to face workshop.

The two cohorts and their two modules will run as follows:

Cohort NumberBandsModule 1Module 2Location
3.27 or equivalent2, 3 and 4 May19 and 20 JulyLondon
3.35 and 6 or equivalent22 and 23 June5 and 6 OctoberLondon

Applicants will be asked to submit an online application and if successful, will then be shortlisted for a place.

Applications close on Friday 27 January 2017.


The Stepping Up programme is fully funded by the Academy, including accommodation. The cost of travelling is the responsibility of each participant’s organisation.

Withdrawal before full completion means the organisation is liable to bear the full cost of £2,200.

To find out more visit the NHS Leadership Academy website.

To apply

Applicants in band 5 and 6 (or equivalent)

Applicants in band 7 (or equivalent)

Supporting documents

The Stepping Up programme: Applicant guide

The Stepping Up programme: Line manager guide

The Stepping Up programme: Bands 5 and 6 terms and conditions

The Stepping Up programme: Band 7 terms and conditions