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Women's Development

Staff Learning and Development Opportunities

Springboard Women's Development Programme

The Springboard Women's Development Programme enables women to take more control over their own lives and careers by identifying clear, practical and realistic steps that they want to take and developing the skills and confidence to take them. Springboard has been used successfully by over 230,000 women in over 40 countries.

Springboard is for women of all backgrounds, ages and stages of their life and combines the attendance of four full day workshops, completion of a workbook, networking and co-coaching. Each participant will set their objectives on the first workshop, which can be to do with work or their personal life.

Many women use the programme to get better results at work, such as new qualifications, aiming for a promotion, developing new skills or creating a new attitude to change. According to the Springboard Consultancy, 80% of participants report increased confidence/self-esteem as a result of undertaking this programme.

If you'd like to apply please provide the following:

The next Springboard programme will be postponed until we are confident it can be delivered virtually or until it is safe to deliver again on campus. Applications will remain open in the interim.

Places are limited to 30 per cohort. We will be looking for a wide variety of participants at different stages of their careers from all areas of the University. If we are oversubscribed we will create a waiting list pending future programme dates being set.

Applications invited for online Aurora women's leadership programme

The University is committed to developing an institution where everyone can fulfil their full potential. As part of our investment in developing a diverse leadership, we offer colleagues places on a range of programmes.

One such programme is Aurora. Aurora is Advance HE's women only leadership development initiative. It aims to encourage women in higher education to think of themselves as leaders and to develop leadership skills. If you are starting to think of moving into a leadership role, and have some managerial experience, the programme offers an ideal opportunity for development.

Dr Carol McAnally, a Senior Business Relationship Manager in the Knowledge Transfer Centre is a previous delegate and has said 'Aurora afforded me the opportunity to explore what kind of leader I wanted to be, and how capable I am of achieving this.'

Suzy Tutchell, a lecturer in the Institute of Education, says of the programme: 'Apart from the excellent delivery and content, it was really inspiring and empowering to meet such a wide range of other female academics and compare stories, experiences and discuss similar aspirations'.

To apply, you should be in a role up to and including Associate Professor or Professional and Managerial Grade 8.

Aurora is a mix of development days, action learning sets and online resources and includes mentoring by a senior member of University staff, as well as regular meetings with other University of Reading participants and the Vice-Chancellor to discuss emerging themes. All events associated with this programme will be online events and activities.

The experience of the programme enables you to:

  • Learn - Tools, techniques and strategies from a team of leadership experts, guest speakers and online resources
  • Develop - Leadership skills through experiential processes, reflection and conversations
  • Network - Meet delegates through five live online development days with interactive breakout sessions and two action learning set meetings
  • Connect - With a UK wide network and niche groups through a members only group
  • Grow - Supported by a mentor within UoR.

Aurora addresses core areas associated with future leadership success including:

  • Understanding organisations and the sector
  • Developing leadership behaviours, skills and knowledge
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers and obstacles
  • Growing confidence and a leadership identity
  • Building networks, coalitions, and support processes.

The dates of the sessions are shown below. As these are online events, you can attend any 'location' as long as you can attend all dates.

South of England

Introduction webinar - 13 October 2020

Identity, Impact and Voice -20 October 2020

Power and Politics - 17 November 2020

Action Learning Set 1 - 8 December 2020

Core Leadership Skills - 12 January 2021

Adaptive Leadership Skills - 9 February 2021

Action Learning Set 2 - 16 March 2021


Introduction webinar - 3 November 2020

Identity, Impact and Voice - 10 November 2020

Power and Politics - 1 December 2021

Action Learning Set 1 - 12 January 2021

Core Leadership Skills - 2 February 2021

Adaptive Leadership Skills - 2 March 2021

Action Learning Set 2 - 23 March 2021


Introduction webinar - 24 November 2020

Identity, Impact and Voice - 1 December 2020

Power and Politics - 19 January 2021

Action Learning Set 1 - 9 February 2021

Core Leadership Skills - 9 March 2021

Adaptive Leadership Skills - 20 April 2021

Action Learning Set 2 - 11 May 2021

West and South West England

Introduction webinar - 18 January 2021

Identity, Impact and Voice - 21 January 2021

Power and Politics - 25 February 2021

Action Learning Set 1 - 18 March 2021

Core Leadership Skills - 22 April 2021

Adaptive Leadership Skills - 20 May 2021

Action Learning Set 2 - 17 June 2021

North of England

Introduction webinar - 17 February 2021

Identity, Impact and Voice - 24 February 2021

Power and Politics - 24 March 2021

Action Learning Set 1 - 21 April 2021

Core Leadership Skills - 12 May 2021

Adaptive Leadership Skills - 23 June 2021

Action Learning Set 2 - 7 July 2021

The Midlands

Introduction webinar - 19 March 2021

Identity, Impact and Voice - 26 March 2021

Power and Politics - 7 May 2021

Action Learning Set 1 - 21 May 2021

Core Leadership Skills - 11 June 2021

Adaptive Leadership Skills - 2 July 2021

Action Learning Set 2 - 16 July 2021

If you are interested in applying for a place, you will need to submit an expression of interest, including:

Your role and department.

A short statement of no more than 300 words covering:

  • what skills and knowledge you hope to gain by attending the programme
  • your leadership aspirations for the future and why you believe this programme will help you to achieve them
  • how you anticipate you will apply your learning from the programme.

Confirmation that you will be able to commit to attending the five sessions, identifying which 'location' and dates you would like to attend.

A supporting statement from your line manager on your commitment to your development and the support your School, Function, or Service will provide to facilitate the development of your leadership skills. The expression of interest should be sent to People Development ( by midday on 14 August 2020. We ask that this document is not sent as a PDF file. Applicants will be informed by Friday 11 September 2020 if they have been successful.

A panel is convened to consider which applicants will be given a sponsored place, and the decision of its members is final. As the programme is usually very popular, this does mean that unfortunately some applicants will be disappointed. Please note, it is not open to individuals to apply direct to Advance HE for a place, delegates must be sponsored by the University centrally.