Bristol remains challenged by gender, race, class, disability, and other social fractures. Unquantifiable amounts of young talent are lost to the city every year in part because the social, economic, and political structures that nurture leadership are not equally available to all. The Covid-19 pandemic has further exposed the inequalities in our society and strengthened the case for more diversity in leadership.
We’re fortunate in Bristol to be surrounded by young and eager talent in every community and every corner of the city. But sadly, the futures of many of these young people are not as bright as they should be, owing to the challenge of their disadvantaged backgrounds.
It is in our collective interest to take a proactive approach to growing the talent and values that will lead us tomorrow. The leadership talent pool must be deeper and broader than it has historically been, both in the name of bringing the diversity of thought to our decision-making tables that will be needed in a world of increasingly complex challenges, and as evidence of a fairer society that is representative of the population.
I co-founded the City Leadership Programme (CLP) in 2012, bringing city institutions and businesses together to invest in Bristol’s future as an inclusive, sustainable, and thriving city. The CLP grew out of our belief that it is not good enough for political and business leaders to wait for the next generation of leaders to come about by social circumstance. Our intention is that the CLP sits within a wider tapestry of city programmes that together support the development of tomorrow’s leaders at all levels.
When I set up this programme my aim was to provide opportunities to talented young people to gain confidence in their skills and to dare to dream big dreams.
The programme seeks pupils on Pupil Premium, Black or minoritised young people or those with English as an additional language, Disabled young people or those labelled as having ‘SEND’, children in care, young carers, asylum seekers and refugees and LGBTQ+ young people to build on their strengths, be empowered to challenge societal barriers and influence change. This programme will be a launchpad for future compassionate and inclusive leadership in local, national, and international business, politics, and non-governmental organisations.
I encourage senior leaders, teachers, lecturers, youth leaders or community and voluntary sector organisations to nominate high-aspiration young people (aged 16-19) with leadership qualities from disadvantaged backgrounds which are under-represented in leadership, or who face personal barriers for the 2022 City Leadership Programme.
The closing date for nominations is midnight on Friday 8 April 2022
If you are interested in nominating or taking part in the CLP, or know someone who might be, more details can be found here.
To read about the experiences of some of the programme’s alumni and what they are doing now please click here.