What is a development centre?

A development centre is an immersive activity which assesses current leadership capability and future leadership potential. It is structured as an 'in-person simulation' where participants undertake a number of exercises aligned to a level of leadership they are being assessed for, supplemented by relevant developmental diagnostics. As the centre includes multiple activities it allows individual participants several opportunities to exhibit their various strengths and areas for development. It therefore provides a fuller and more truthful image of the participant than might be achieved through the use of a single assessment.

The York development centre model was developed in conjunction with IBM and subsequently Edit Development, who are market leaders in this area. We have successfully used this model with different grades of professional and support staff since 2015, and have a number of formally trained assessors within the People and Organisational Development Team.

The outcome of the development centre is a robust, informed development plan for individuals with dedicated development support which could include mentoring, coaching, specific input and other CPD activity. It would also provide useful indicators for individuals and the institution around future career direction and preferences (ie it may show that individuals may be more suited to developing their careers in directions other than leadership and administration).