Accessibility statement

York Leaders

York Leaders logo

What does leadership mean to you? Would you like to develop your leadership skills? Could you become a ‘York Leader’?

York Leaders aims to advance your understanding of what it means to be a leader while exploring and developing your own leadership skills, helping you make a greater contribution in any context. 

You might not see yourself as a leader (yet), and you don’t have to have experience in a leadership role to apply.

We’re looking for students who see the value of effective leadership and can show us their enthusiasm and potential to become leaders who bring about positive change.

York Leaders is much more than simply learning about leadership. This unique programme offers the opportunity to put what you learn into practice through a group project, working with others on real-world issues to discover what leadership means to you.

Why take part?

As part of the programme you will:

  • Experience, explore and demonstrate leadership through a series of engaging activities covering a range of leadership skills and principles.
  • Develop your understanding of the Social Change Model of leadership, part of the York Strengths Framework.
  • Take part in a unique group project tackling a real world issue, and have the opportunity to present to an expert panel including leading employers.
  • Meet and build relationships with other motivated students.
  • Have an opportunity to use, develop and reflect on your strengths.
  • Receive developmental feedback from your peers, professional facilitators and expert mentors.
  • Build confidence in your leadership capabilities, skills, and what your next steps might be
  • Gain certified recognition for successful completion of the programme and leave with a great addition to your CV that you can talk about in applications and interviews.
  • Be in with a chance of receiving a prize of £1,000 in recognition of your leadership development (more information on the Chancellor's Leadership Prize tab).

Here's some of the feedback we've received from previous York Leaders participants: 

York Leaders 2022

“You may not feel like a leader, but you may certainly be one!”

“Do it for the experience! I met some great people and I feel like we genuinely came up with an interesting and feasible proposal.”

“It's an amazing opportunity to meet new, like-minded people who might become long-term friends, while also understanding yourself more.”

York Leaders 2021

"Definitely do it! York Leaders has marked an important developmental milestone for me in realising my place and power in groups.”

“The experience was such an eye-opener for me - what I previously knew about resilience, personal branding and group work has been expanded ten-fold. This is a really useful experience and great for your CV!"

York Leaders 2020

“Being part of York Leaders was a great experience, getting to know loads of new people and work on something that can make a difference to the university and the community around us. I know that we'll stay in contact and remain good friends long after York Leaders is over!”

York Leaders 2019

"A unique opportunity to learn from a talented and driven cohort of peers, development experts and industry professionals. The programme's reflective emphasis allows you to develop personally and professionally through detailed personalised feedback - an opportunity I could not recommend more!"

Programme structure

The programme will be delivered by expert staff from the University’s Student Development and Leadership team.

The programme

Information on the 2023/24 programme will be published here during early Semester 1.

Key dates

Information on the 2023/24 programme will be published here during early Semester 1


If you have any accessibility requirements or queries around the activities outlined, please let us know by emailing and we will be happy to talk through this with you.

If you are concerned that financial circumstances may make it difficult for you to engage with the programme, please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice on the available options for financial support. York Futures Scholarships is one possible source of support. 

Who can apply?


York Leaders is open to second (or middle) year undergraduate students from any discipline who are able to demonstrate that they have an interest in exploring and developing their leadership potential. 

You do not need to hold any formal leadership qualifications, experience or evidence of holding a leadership position in order to take part. We’re looking for applicants that can show us potential, demonstrate their enthusiasm for the programme, and commitment to their leadership development.

How to apply

Applications for York Leaders 2024 will open in January 2024.

Application process

Information on the 2023/24 programme will be published here during early Semester 1.

Guidance for preparing your application

Prior to application

To get the most out of the programme, you will need to have a good understanding of York Strengths and your personal strengths. You must have completed York Strengths prior to attending York Leaders.

To support your application, we also encourage you to explore the Social Change Model, a key concept underpinning the York Leaders programme. This will help you to think about your own values and views on leadership, which we’ll ask you about in your application.

Chancellor's Leadership Prize

Every year a gift of £1,000 is awarded to the top three York Award candidates in their undergraduate final year of study.

Students who take part in the York Leaders programme will be considered for the Chancellor’s Leadership Prize. The prizes will recognise the most talented, ambitious and driven students who have contributed to the University community or wider society, excel in York Award and who have completed the York Leaders programme.

The gift has been donated by Sir Malcolm (University of York Chancellor) and Lady Grant.