Frequently Asked Questions About the Fellowship

Got a Question About the Award Winning Leaders Plus Fellowship?

Below you’ll find a number of Frequently Asked Questions about the Leaders Plus Cross-Sector Fellowship and the NHS Fellowship.

If you can’t find the answer to your question below please feel free to email the Leaders Plus team who will be very happy to help.


Fellowship FAQs

  1. How can I convince my employer to sponsor my place on the Fellowship?
  2. What is the investment?
  3. What is the impact of the Fellowship?
  4. [NHS Fellowship] Has someone from my Trust or my location completed the Fellowship before?
  5. Leadership: Does this mean I need to have a formal leadership role?
  6. [NHS Fellowship] How can I apply for a Royal College of Emergency Medicine part-funded place?
  7. I am not sure my employer will fund my place on the Programme. What can I do?
  8. Can I pay in instalments?
  9. Your other Fellows look amazing, I’m not sure I am good enough to apply!
  10. [NHS Fellowship] Do I have to be a doctor to join the NHS Fellowship Programme?
  11. [NHS Fellowship] Is the NHS Fellowship Programme open to clinicians and non-clinicians?
  12. Will I get a Mentor?
  13. I just want some tips on flexible working, is this for me?
  14. Can you tell me more about the hardship fund Fellowship places?
  15. What is the time commitment?
  16. Is the Fellowship open to primary parents?
  17. Can I have more information about the part-funded Royal College of Emergency Medicine Places?
  18. What are the dates of the next cohorts?
  19. Who can join the Fellowship Programme?
  20. Do you have to be based in the UK to join the Fellowship?
  21. [Cross-Sector Fellowship] How is the Online Programme different from the Blended Learning Programme?
  22. How long is the Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme?
  23. How much pre-work is there?
  24. How senior do you need to be to join the Fellowship?
  25. How many Fellows and Alumni are there?
  26. Is it better to do the Fellowship during maternity leave/shared parental leave or afterward?
  27. How do you select the Fellowship Mentors?
  28. How soon after birth can you join the Fellowship Programme?
  29. How do you match Fellows and Mentors?
  30. Who are the facilitators?
  31. How many people are in each of the groups?
  32. Is there a certificate at the end of the Programme?
  33. What if I have a baby with me and he/she cries during the sessions?
  34. How is the Programme delivered?
  35. Is there an Alumni community?
  36. What is the benefit to my employer?

How can I convince my employer to sponsor my place on the Fellowship?

We strongly believe that employers should be supporting the professional development of working parents, in order to increase the diversity of representation at senior leadership levels and work to address the gender pay gap. We have put together some guides to help you approach your line manager and communicate the benefits of investing in your career progression – it’s based on what has worked to secure previous Fellows funding from their employers.

Access resources on securing leadership development funding.

What is the investment?

Cross-Sector Fellowship 

The cost of the Fellowship Programme depends on whether you choose the online or blended learning version of the Programme. Find out more here.

Employer funded:
£3389 plus VAT online learning
£3990 plus VAT blended learning

Charity:
£3250 plus VAT blended learning
£2850 plus VAT online learning

Self-funder:
£2300 plus VAT blended learning
£2100 plus VAT online learning

Hardship:
£90 plus VAT (find out more about Hardship Fund places)

Please note it is possible to pay in instalments.


NHS Fellowship 

The Leaders Plus NHS Fellowship costs £2690 + VAT.

Most of our Fellows receive funding from their employers and we have advice for securing funding from your employer here.

We aim to make the Fellowship accessible to all and have a small number of heavily subsidised places available for those ambitious parents who are facing financial hardship.

The cost of a hardship-funded place is £30 and you can find out more about the criteria here.

Please get in touch with Jo Denoris if you would like more information on  jo.denoris@leadersplus.org

 

What is the impact of the Fellowship?

The Fellowship has been designed to help you progress your career in a way that works for you.

Access the latest Impact Report here.

In our last evaluation, all Fellows said the Fellowship made a positive impact on their ability to progress their career with confidence and has positively impacted work-life balance.

When asked this question we are often astounded how the Fellowship seems to enable people to act bravely – for example make decisions they have been pondering a long time, ask for what they need etc – this is what has the impact that we see.

In the last cohort 53 percent of Fellows reported that they have been promoted or got significantly more responsibility by the end of it, although we don’t ask people to develop their career that quickly, it’s absolutely fine to take it at our own pace, we were surprised ourselves when we saw that number!

[NHS Fellowship] Has someone from my Trust or my location completed the Fellowship before?

We have several employees from a large range of NHS Trusts who have completed the Leaders Plus Fellowship. This includes Imperial, UCL, Barts, ELFT, Manchester, Northumbria, Glasgow and many more.

Please get in touch with office@leadersplus.org if you would like more information.

Leadership: Does this mean I need to have a formal leadership role?

We define leadership as driving change for others.

So, for both Fellowship opportunities, you will need to have a role with significant decision making, e.g. for the NHS Fellowship, you might be a senior registrar or consultant who makes decisions about training for others or you might be a senior nurse leading a project. For the Cross-Sector Fellowship, you will be at the managerial level. We aren’t hard and fast about it, we want to see that you are someone who likes taking responsibility and will likely to want to develop this in the future.

You will have an opportunity on the application form to demonstrate how you have shown leadership. 

If you are unsure if you are senior enough to apply for the Fellowship then please email jo.denoris@leadersplus.org or join one of our helpful group calls.

[NHS Fellowship] How can I apply for a Royal College of Emergency Medicine part-funded place?

Download the application form here but indicate on the application that you want to be considered for the RCEM space in the box provided. Find out more about the RCEM places here.

I am not sure my employer will fund my place on the Programme. What can I do?

We have several resources to support you, including advice from previous Fellows on how they have secured funding. Remember, you can also apply before you have secured funding and arrange the details afterwards.

Can I pay in instalments?

Yes, we offer an instalment payment option. Apply now.

Your other Fellows look amazing, I’m not sure I am good enough to apply!

The other Fellows wrote their profiles at the end of the Programme where they got support to shine. In all likelihood, you are absolutely good enough and would flourish on the Fellowship. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss this further (office@leadersplus.org) or for the 2022 NHS Fellowship you can join a Group Call.

[NHS Fellowship] Do I have to be a doctor to join the NHS Fellowship Programme?

No. We have previously had doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, NHS Senior managers etc. Please join a Group Call to find out more.

[NHS Fellowship] Is the NHS Fellowship Programme open to clinicians and non-clinicians?

Yes, the NHS Fellowship Programme is open to clinicians and non-clinicians from any speciality with children aged 0-11.

Will I get a Mentor?

NHS Fellowship Programme

In the optional change maker Fellowship (3 months after finishing the  Foundation Fellowship), you will get a Mentor who helps you drive change for others. 

Cross-Sector Fellowship Programme

Cross-Sector Fellows will be allocated a Mentor during the 9 months of the Programme.

I just want some tips on flexible working, is this for me?

In honesty, probably not. The programme will get you to think deeply about what you want to do, any assumptions you may be facing and how to achieve what you need. You will come away with new ideas around key challenges, such as flexible working, but we will push you to think critically about your own assumptions. Join a Group Call to ask further questions or find out more about the NHS Fellowship.

Can you tell me more about the hardship fund Fellowship places?

We aim to make the Fellowship accessible to all and have a small number of heavily subsidised places available for ambitious parents facing hardship and whose development can not be supported by their employer – for example, you may be working in insecure employment or have recently been made redundant.

The cost of a hardship-funded place is £30. Please use the below criteria to ascertain if you are eligible for consideration of a hardship fund place. 

If none apply, but you feel you have a strong reason, you will have the opportunity to apply during the application process. 

Must fulfil at least 2 of these criteria: 

  • I am a single parent in receipt of Universal Credit
  • I am struggling to regularly meet the basic needs of a child I am responsible for. ‘Basic needs’ include accommodation, heating, food and hygiene.
  • I have unpaid caring responsibilities (outside of being a parent)
  • I have used a Food Bank in the past 6 months
  • My child /children are eligible for free school meals

AND must fulfil one of these criteria: 

  • I am not currently employed
  • I do not have secure employment

If none apply, but you feel you have a strong reason, you will have the opportunity to apply during the application process. We particularly encourage working parents who are from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in senior leadership roles to apply for these places, e.g. from minoritized backgrounds, who live with a disability, who identify as from a working class background or who are solo parents.  

If this applies to you and you are unable to self fund and cannot secure employer funding but do not meet the criteria below please contact us.

What is the time commitment?

For the NHS Fellowship (Applications Open Now)

The NHS Fellowship is roughly a 1/2 day a month commitment across the 6 months of the Foundation Fellowship. Join a Group Call to find out more or ask further questions.

For the Cross-Sector Fellowship
The Cross-Sector Fellowship is roughly a 3-4 hour commitment per month over a 9 month period. There is also pre-work to complete in advance of each session which is roughly 1-1.5 hours.

Is the Fellowship open to primary parents?

Yes, the Fellowship is open to parents of children aged 0-11.

We try to group you together with other parents who have similarly aged kids when you join the Fellowship as this can be beneficial.

 

Can I have more information about the part-funded Royal College of Emergency Medicine Places?

We are delighted to have partnered with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine who are generously offering 10 part-funded places to parents working in emergency medicine on the NHS Fellowship.

You can find out more about these places, including costs here.

 

What are the dates of the next cohorts?

NHS Fellowship

The next cohort will begin in September 2024 and run until February 2025. Applications are open now, apply here.

Cross-Sector Fellowship

The next cohort will begin in Autumn 2024. Apply now.

Who can join the Fellowship Programme?

NHS Fellowship

The Leaders Plus NHS Fellowship is open to all NHS clinical and non-clinical staff who are passionate about career development and have childcare responsibilities for young children between the ages of 0 and 18.

Applicants will need to have a role (or have previously held a role) with significant responsibility, i.e. a management or leadership role.

We are especially looking for individuals who are willing to actively engage with a group of their peers, who are keen to progress their careers and make a difference to others.

The Fellowship is fully inclusive and we particularly welcome applications from the LGBTQIA+ community, ethnic minorities and anyone who identifies as having a disability. We are actively looking for people from these underrepresented communities to apply for the Fellowship as we want to create equal career progression opportunities.

 

Cross-Sector Fellowship

The Cross-Sector Fellowship is for managers and leaders from all industries and sectors with significant childcare responsibilities for babies through to children aged 18.

We welcome applications from parents who are on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave and we are open to both mothers and fathers. You can also apply to the Fellowship whilst you are pregnant.

About half of our Fellows are pregnant, on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave. The remaining half have recently returned or have returned in the last 10 years.

We actively encourage individuals from groups that are underrepresented in leadership roles to apply. This includes for example individuals with a BAME or LGBTQI+ background.

Our previous Fellows have come from a range of employers such as the BBC, NHS, HSBC, Action Tutoring and the Salvation Army.

Do you have to be based in the UK to join the Fellowship?

No, absolutely not! Many of the Fellowship Programme facilitators have an international background and our Founder, Verena Hefti, is passionate about growing a global community.

It is likely that the majority of the applicants will be UK-based but we welcome applications from all over the world and have streams within the online Programme for international Fellows. 

[Cross-Sector Fellowship] How is the Online Programme different from the Blended Learning Programme?

In Spring 2020 we moved the Cross-Sector Programme online in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and we are delighted that this has worked remarkably well for our Fellows and their families.

We use video conferencing software that allows you to speak to others in small groups. Our incisive questioning allows you to get to deep conversations quickly.

Every session has a reference to a theoretical framework and/or the latest research about career progression, and they are delivered in a structured format that is easy to follow.

In 2022 we decided to offer the choice of an Online Only Programme OR a Blended Learning Programme.

The Online Programme will offer all virtual sessions which are accessed via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

The Blended Learning Programme offers a mix of virtual sessions and some face-to-face sessions which will take place in London.

The content of the Cross-Sector Programme remains the same for both the Online and Blended Learning Fellows but it is structured in slightly different ways.





How long is the Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme?

NHS Fellowship

The Leaders Plus NHS Foundation Fellowship Programme runs for a total of 6 months.

There is an optional additional 3-month NHS Changemaker Fellowship Programme which will take place a year after completing the Foundation Fellowship.

Cross-Sector Fellowship

The Leaders Plus Cross-Sector Fellowship Programme runs for a total of 9 months for both the blended learning and online versions of the Programme. 

 

How much pre-work is there?

NHS Fellowship:

There isn’t a huge amount of pre-work, on average just 1-2 hours per month

Cross-Sector Fellowship:

The majority of the career development sessions have an average of one-hour of pre work. 



How senior do you need to be to join the Fellowship?

Applicants will need to have a role (or have previously held a role) with significant responsibility, i.e. a management or leadership role.

We are especially looking for individuals who are willing to actively engage with a group of their peers, who are keen to progress their careers and make a difference to others.

If you are unsure whether you are senior enough then please join a Group Call with Jo Denoris who can answer your questions.

If in doubt, do apply as research tells us that women tend to apply for opportunities if they fulfil 60% of the criteria while many men may apply if they fulfil 100% of the criteria!

How many Fellows and Alumni are there?

At present, there are over 200 Fellows from a variety of sectors. Find out more about some of our previous Fellows here.

Is it better to do the Fellowship during maternity leave/shared parental leave or afterward?

It is a very personal choice.

Some Fellows who did the Fellowship during their leave said they valued being able to have non-baby related conversations during their leave, and that the peer group supported their return to work.

Plus they were able to use the learning from the Fellowship to shape their work pattern from the start upon their return, which can be easier than changing your arrangements 2 years after you returned from leave. But, you may also want to focus on just your baby during your parental leave, and that is ok too.

How do you select the Fellowship Mentors?

We headhunt them carefully.

We look for people who share our passion for supporting leaders with young children to progress their careers and who care deeply about gender equality.

Our Mentors are senior leaders who have experience bringing up young children alongside a fulfilling leadership career. Some are previous Fellows who have risen into senior roles.

How soon after birth can you join the Fellowship Programme?

You can join whenever, and we have had Fellows who have given birth during the Programme or afterwards.

For most people, 3 months after birth/adoption is the earliest they will consider joining the Fellowship, although every year we do have some Fellows who have joined the programme.

How do you match Fellows and Mentors?

We ask both Fellows and Mentors at the application stage about their mentor preference and preferred ways of working.

For example, when a Fellow says they could benefit from someone who is a good listener and asks them lots of questions, we seek to match with a mentor who has these particular skills.

During the matching event, you both have a deep conversation and see whether you think you are a good fit. If yes, great, if not, we will match you with someone else.

We usually try to match people across sectors and industries, we have received feedback that these cross-sector relationships are incredibly powerful, as they help challenge existing assumptions you may haveFind out more about the Cross-Sector Fellowship here.

For the NHS Fellowship, there will be an opportunity to hear expert insights from our cross-sector mentors at a round table event.

Who are the facilitators?

The facilitators are experienced trainers and coaches who have been selected because they are excellent at creating space to think. Find out more about them here.

How many people are in each of the groups?

Most sessions on the NHS Fellowship Programme have a max of 20 people.
 

Is there a certificate at the end of the Programme?

Yes! You graduate from the Leaders Plus Fellowships with a certificate of completion award and a digital Fellowship badge you can display on your LinkedIn profile and email signature (if you’d like to.) 

What if I have a baby with me and he/she cries during the sessions?

Our sessions are professional events and are very well structured, but they are also designed knowing that our Fellows have children, and we always have Fellows who bring their babies along to sessions so they are very welcome.

Gurgling, crying, giggling is absolutely allowed!

 

How is the Programme delivered?

NHS Fellowship

The NHS Fellowship is delivered via a series of high-quality workshops, roundtable events and online learning resources. It is a mix of online and in person.

To find out more about the NHS Fellowship please join one of our Group Calls.

 

Cross-Sector Fellowship

The Cross-Sector Fellowship Programme can be delivered either fully online or via a blended learning option which includes some face-to-face events. You are able to choose which you prefer when you apply.

When delivering sessions virtually we use video conferencing software that allows you to speak to others in small groups.

Our incisive questioning allows you to get to deep conversations quickly.

Every session has a reference to a theoretical framework and/or the latest research about career progression, and they are delivered in a structured format that is easy to follow. Find out more about the structure of the Cross-Sector Fellowship here. 

Is there an Alumni community?

Yes, there is. We have Alumni-only events on a regular basis. 

Many of our alumni continue to be heavily involved in our work, for example as speakers, advisors and so on. Find out more about some of our previous Fellows here. 

What is the benefit to my employer?

There are a number of huge benefits to employers when employees participate in the Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme.

The following blog gives useful advice on asking your employer to fund your place on the Programme. View the blog here.

Register Interest In the Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme