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. 

  • The programme will run across weeks 6 and 7 of Spring term 2023. 
  • 90 places are available. Applications will be accepted during weeks 6-10 of Autumn term 2022. 

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

The York Leaders programme comprises two in-person evening workshops and a final in-person presentation and celebration day, alongside an online suite of complementary material to support your learning. 

Participants will be given a group project to work on, tackling a real-world issue which will allow you to further explore and demonstrate your strengths and leadership skills. 

Participants will be given 10 days between the workshops and the final presentation day to work with their team members on their project. Within this time, each group will be assigned an expert mentor who will support your leadership development during the course of the project. 

You’ll be asked to put together a presentation for our judging panel, including some of our employer partners, which you’ll deliver on our final presentation and celebration day. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from our expert panel and receive feedback alongside your peers to support your development. 

Key dates

Session 1: 5-8pm Monday 13 February 2023 (Spring Term Week 6) 

Session 2: 5-8pm Wednesday 15 February 2023 (Spring Term Week 6)

Presentation and celebration day: 9am-5:30pm Saturday 25 February 2023 (Spring Term Week 7)

Times are approximate - exact on-the-day timings will be provided to participants on confirmation of a place. 


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. The York Futures Scholarship application window for Autumn Term closes at 5pm on Monday 7 November 2022.

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.

Your commitment


Successful applicants may be sent brief pre-work activities at least a week before the start of the programme.


Attendance at all in-person sessions in Week 6 and the final in-person presentation and celebration day in Week 7 is mandatory for all participants, so before applying please make sure you can attend the ‘key dates’ listed in the programme outline ('Programme Structure' tab). 

However, if you are interested in applying but are concerned that you may not be able to attend part or all of one session, please contact us to explore possible solutions.

You will also be expected to contribute to your group project, working collaboratively with your team members to organise your own schedule and communicate effectively during the allocated project time.

How to apply

Applications for York Leaders 2023 are now closed.

Application process

Application is via Google form. You will be asked to confirm your eligibility for the programme, that you meet the mandatory attendance and participation requirements and answer questions on:

  • Your leadership potential and what you will bring to the programme
  • Your leadership ambition and how you would like to develop as a leader

The application form gives some prompts for each question, and guidance on the kind of examples we’re looking for in your application. 

Responses will be reviewed and shortlisted after the final deadline of 5pm on Friday 2 December (week 10 Autumn term). We will then be in touch to let you know whether your application has been successful by the end of Spring term week 2.

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 Online (and submitted your results) 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. 

Completing the application form

  • You can work on your application form at any time in the completion window, going back to the original link to access and edit your own form as much as you like.
  • We recommend you use a separate document to prepare your answers then copy and paste them into the form.
  • Be aware of word limits, as these are enforced automatically in the online form.
  • Each time you make changes/updates to your form, you must remember to always click SUBMIT at the end of the form or your updates will not be saved.
  • Always use the BACK / NEXT buttons at the bottom of the form pages; do not use your browser’s back button or you may lose your work.

For further advice on how best to approach the application, we encourage you to read the application guidance document before you start. It provides further advice on how best to approach the application. 

If you have any questions about the application process or require additional support please contact us.

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.