Across the UK, the talent pool is churning, with organisations from all sectors struggling to find and hang onto effective leaders – and often struggling to get them up to speed when they take on senior roles.
Leaders Plus was established in 2013 to help people navigate that path toward the top tier, and was launched in Greater Manchester in 2020. The course is designed to build connections, skills, insight and confidence, and its candidates and grads – together with 10 years of Future London Leaders alumni – are forming a dynamic talent network consistently recognised for excellence.
Well ahead of the current shift in our approach to work, Leaders Plus also encouraged fresh thinking. If you thought greening a car-centric city, funding social impact, creating a kids’ kitemark or designing a development data trust were the stuff of earnest grad projects, think again. These were just a few of the excellent ‘Proposals for GM’ Leaders Plus candidates in Greater Manchester have delivered since 2020 – inspiring yes, but at their level, actionable too.
That integration of positive ethos, professional experience and connection, especially across sectors, is core to Leaders Plus. The small-cohort course offers robust leadership skills including strategy, resilience, team dynamics, communication and leading through change, and mixes taught sessions with workshops, field trips and frank insight from top public- and private-sector leaders.
The fledgling GM course has survived its first two years mostly online thanks to determined candidates and nominators and to sponsors Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Hatch, Trowers & Hamlins and Arup. Their ability to take a long view of the programme’s value to the region has been critical.
Fifty cross-sector leaders have already come through the GM programme as candidates and mentors, with 30 more placements starting in February. With a UK-wide Leaders network of nearly 1,000 alumni and mentors when the 2022 cohort launches in February, it’s a powerful network to be part of.
The ‘constellation arm’ in this network diagram represents the fledgling GM group of organisations where alumni work: click here to see the whole network map and get in touch to add your organisation or learn more.
If you or colleagues are en route to senior leadership and want help with next steps – or you’re well into your career and want to give back through mentoring – contact Lisa Taylor. Nominations are open through Jan 28th for the February 17th intake. A course overview including links to the 2021 candidates and mentors is here, and FoL can share nomination materials.
For now, here are some of the excellent 2021 Proposals for GM, run over two December Zoom sessions and voted on by the audience and their peers:
Amy Beasley, Transport Strategy & Growth Manager, Stockport Council
Best presentation (PM): Planning a child friendly city – The GMKids Kitemark
With the help of Jamie Oliver, children transformed how we think about healthy eating. 60% of urban dwellers will be under 18 by 2030, so why can’t they also transform how we design and plan cities? Let’s do more to make exploring their local areas safer and easier, so they become leading advocates for the active travel that will help address big societal challenges like climate change, poor air quality and health inequalities. My proposal is for a GMKids Kitemark, using the expertise of children and leading academics to work with developers and planners to make sure future spaces in GM are planned with children in mind.
Mark Moore, National Head of Heating and Hot Water Services, Guinness Partnership
Favourite idea (AM): Lead the switch 2050
Reaching net zero carbon in 2050 sounds like it’s so far away it’s not worth worrying about now, but in Greater Manchester alone, 33% of current carbon emissions come purely from providing heat and hot water to households. To shift this to a zero-carbon position will cost approximately £12bn, or £400m a year – with £7bn of that investment needing to be met by individual households. Those costs make the target and its urgency seem a lot closer. My proposal sets a path to ensure that not only is a move to zero-carbon heating affordable, it becomes the most obvious solution.
Rachel Rosewell, Deputy Treasurer, GMCA
Most Feasible (AM): Healthy, affordable and carbon friendly eating
One effective way to tackle food poverty, obesity and climate change is developing parents’ understanding of how a more vegetarian-friendly diet can reduce the cost of food, improve health and help the environment. Through the pandemic, the Vegetarian Society has provided food boxes with recipes and ingredients for families in need, funded by donations. My proposal will scale this up, introducing the concept and offering cookery classes to all families through schools, and providing the boxes, including basic equipment, to families with children in food poverty – without stigmatising those families, or pushing a vegetarian diet for reasons beyond health, cost and environment.
Anne Parkes, Senior Social Value Consultant, Arup
Best Presentation (PM): GM Social Value Brokerage Service
If 10% of public sector spend with the private sector was realised as social value, this would generate £27bn of benefits in communities across the UK. With the private sector being driven to act more responsibly by consumers, investors and employees, the time is right to maximise the social value generated by business. But how should they focus their support? Greater Manchester is home to 17,500 voluntary organisations who know our communities and understand priorities and local needs. The GM Social Value Brokerage Service will provide a place-based platform to bring together all these players and target support in the communities that need it the most.
Lisa Dale-Clough, Head of Industrial Strategy, GMCA
Most Feasible (PM): Digital Place Hubs: Reducing digital exclusion and increasing community engagement
This proposal makes a case for a series of Digital Place Hubs in buildings on high streets and in communities to tackle digital divides and exclusion, improve policymaking and access to public services, provide a focus for business and community interaction and support high street recovery. The pandemic transformed how we live life online and access public services and demonstrated how data informs policymaking. But increasing digitalisation severely disrupts the lives, businesses and wellbeing of digitally excluded people, and how we all participate in civic life. Places increasingly need to bridge high tech digital ambitions and everyday needs of people and businesses.
Tom Wainwright, Senior Associate, Trowers & Hamlins
Favourite Idea (PM): Saving Manchester’s Nightclubs
Manchester’s nightlife – and in particular its nightclubs – has played a key role in the regeneration of the city centre over the last 30 years. Now though, Manchester’s nightclubs are struggling to survive. Even before the ongoing disaster of COVID, many clubs had closed in recent years, often to make way for flats. As the city centre population continues to boom, is part of what made living in town attractive in the first place being lost? This proposal will consider ways in which the city’s clubs can be safeguarded now that they have so many new neighbours.