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Have you got what it takes to be a future leader of Nottingham?

Applications are now open for a unique leadership programme in Nottingham, designed to make leadership in the city more diverse and representative of all communities, by discovering and developing future leaders from all walks of life. The city-wide Future Leaders of Nottingham programme, now in its third year, is creating a network of talented leaders with the ability to inspire others and drive change – across the private, public and voluntary sectors.

It’s being run by The Renewal Trust, in partnership with many of Nottingham’s leading organisations, including Nottingham City Council, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, Nottingham City Homes, Futures Advice, Skills and Employment Ltd and Communities Inc. The programme aims to discover and develop people with genuine leadership potential, so you don’t necessarily have to be in a senior or managerial position at work to apply.

Instead, you’ll need to show leadership qualities like authenticity, ambition, integrity and pragmatism. Successful applicants will get the chance to experience leadership at the highest level, while gaining the knowledge and skills needed to become a leader – through masterclasses, mentoring and coaching for example.

Across the UK, leadership is still hugely under-representative of women and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, with just 6% of people from BAME backgrounds in top jobs and only 22% of women. LGBT+ communities face discrimination too, with a recent survey finding that over half of LGBT+ employees hide their sexual orientation or gender identity, because they think they won’t be considered for promotion or development opportunities. The business case for increasing diversity and representation is huge. Research by McKinsey shows that organisations with a gender-diverse board are 15% more likely to outperform their peers financially, and those with an ethnically-diverse board 35% more likely.

Cherry Underwood, Chief Executive at The Renewal Trust said: “This programme is about finding those with leadership qualities and potential, regardless of their existing skills and experience. It’s designed to help organisations prepare their leaders of the future, while enabling them to make more of the diverse talent they have in their workforce.

“By creating a stronger, more representative group of leaders across Nottingham’s private, public and voluntary sectors, who have grown by working and collaborating with each other, we’ll help to enhance Nottingham’s standing as an influential 21st century city in the UK.”

Zabina Kauser, a Tenancy Sustainment Officer at Nottingham City Homes, who completed the programme in 2017, said:“Taking part in the Future Leaders programme has been a great experience for me, it has really inspired me, given me great confidence and empowered me to take risks. And it’s been a fantastic opportunity to meet and work with some very talented individuals.”

Sonia Bilkhu, who works at the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum and took part in the programme last year, said:“There are many factors affecting diverse communities stepping into leadership, from a lack of support and connections (it’s not what you know, it’s who you know) to the fear of rejection. The Future Leaders programme has allowed me to be with like-minded people who share the same vision as me – to represent, lead by example, and actively change things for the better.”

As well as looking for potential future leaders, The Renewal Trust is also looking for more private, public and voluntary sector organisations to get involved. To find out more, or to apply, please call Holly James at The Renewal Trust on 0115 911 2226 or email holly@renewaltrust.org.uk