Students from Lancaster University, who have faced significant challenges in their lives, completed a three day Frontrunner Leadership course. 

The course was delivered by Common Purpose, an independent international leadership organisation part funded through the Alumni Friends Programme and it was organised by Careers with support from the Disability Service and the Students' Union. The workshop was a response to undergraduate and postgraduate student surveys suggesting that students with a disability wanted more opportunities for personal development, increasing confidence, building resilience and developing professional networks.

During the course students were encouraged to investigate how leadership works in practice and met with leaders from across the private, public and third sectors to explore local issues, how leaders are tackling them and the value of diversity in the workplace.

The atmosphere was amazing, the speakers were amazing, all in all the programme was thought provoking and allowed me to think about myself and future in a different way! Adebimpe Eniafe

On day two of the course a fleet of taxis arrived at the university to take the students on an ‘Apprentice’ style visit to local organisations including Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire Fire Station, Booths Supermarket and The Dukes Theatre. Senior leaders of these organisations presented real organisational challenges and asked students to develop ideas and strategies to tackle the issues presented.

It was a pleasure to help the students and I enjoyed listening to their feedback. They had some good ideas which I plan to look into over the coming months. Mark Langstaff, Store Manager, Booths.

To enable students to make the most of meeting a wide range of leaders, John Clayton, Managing Editor of BBC Radio Lancashire led a workshop on developing effective questioning skills and students also practised their presentation skills, pitching on topics that they were passionate about to the larger group.

One of the key aims of the course was to develop confidence and empower students who have faced significant challenges due to a disability or difficulties due to their health or wellbeing; helping to establish and grow a future generation of leaders.

This course has been life-changing in that it has empowered me as an individual and has enhanced my interaction with others and the issues surrounding me. Nirmala Patel

Students completing a Frontrunner course become alumni of Common Purpose and have access to the extensive membership network for help and support with career development.

The Frontrunner course was funded by donations from Lancaster University alumni, the Students Union, Careers department, Graduate College and the University’s Office for Fair Access funding (OFFA) which is used to support students from under-represented groups in Higher Education and to promote their success.