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Newcastle University

Case Study: The NUSU Advanced Programme in Leadership

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As a Russell Group University and one with an extremely impressive reputation, Newcastle University currently sits within the top 50 of the University League Tables. Newcastle University attracts thousands of students from all over the world each year and is the top choice for many students and cements itself firmly as a high performing institution with an impressive reputation that they’re keen to not only maintain but enhance further. The University strives to continuously improve not only the university experience for their students but improve their employability prospects as well. Due to this, we at Gradvert have partnered with Newcastle University to create a first-of-its-kind Leadership Development Programme, to equip students with essential employability skills. We aim to lead the way in this kind of unique and innovative programme and equip students with the key employability skills needed for a long and successful career.

The Challenge

A programme needed to be put in place that helped develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours that future employers are looking for. Through the Advanced Programme in Leadership, we aim to create more effective leaders that stand out in today’s job market, whilst also supporting the development of volunteering activities and their role at NUSU. High publicity has focused on the notion that there appears to be a lack of communication between the education and business sector in regards to what employers truly want from graduates when entering the working world. Subsequently, this has led to many graduate level roles not being filled. It has become apparent that although completing university with a degree, many students still lack the key employability skills and we aim to bridge this gap through our programme. Newcastle University has recognised this and aims to tackle this issue head on by allowing students that work within its students’ union to both develop and implement skills such as leadership and communication.

The Solution

We have developed a programme titled ‘The NUSU Advanced Programme in Leadership’ which will allow 20 candidates who’re already highly engaged within the university that are either members of the students’ union or are sabbatical officers to take part. Through their current roles within the university, these individuals will be able to practically implement the skills they learn into their present roles; bringing the unique quality to what this programme offers. The programme will introduce these said candidates to leadership through a series of workshops that will allow them to expand and enhance this key and essential skill.
Our unique programme allows candidates to practically go through projects and allows them to implement their new skills in to real life scenarios that will aid in their current positions within the university such as the societies they manage. The programme will be endorsed by The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), the largest provider of leader and management qualifications in the UK and will mean that candidates will be required to complete an assignment to successfully gain this qualification. However, this assignment does not have to be a burden as it can be tailored to what is most relevant and best fitting to the university. The programmes being endorsed by ILM ensures that the programme is up to the same high standard associated with the ILM name and will solidify the ongoing quality of the programme. Through the completion of the programme and accompanying assignment, candidates will gain a recognised certificate that cements the training they have undertook and subsequent qualification which they can then physically take to future employers and shows they have been through a high quality benchmark of training.
The programme will allow candidates to go through modules that will allow them to enhance essential and extremely employable skills such as leadership, communication and influencing. The programme will consist of a series of workshops which will tackle subjects such as adopting certain leadership styles, how to tailor methods of communication, project management and building an engaging team- all traits that employers crave.

Project Outcome

With the support of Gradvert, Newcastle University:


  • Student satisfaction rates will begin to increase across the university which is a contributing factor to a university’s ranking.
  • Overall, the wider student community will have a better experience due to the increase in satisfaction rates.
  • The university’s employability agenda will be supported- with greater employability skills more and more graduates will move into graduate level roles.
  • This is a programme that candidates both apply and volunteer to do which will demonstrate traits of initiative and determination to future employers.