Accessibility statement

York Leaders

York Leaders logo

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

York Leaders is an exciting opportunity for second (or middle) year undergraduate students from all academic disciplines to gain exclusive access to an intensive training course. York Leaders aims to advance your understanding of what it means to be a leader and explore and develop your own leadership skills.

You don’t have to have experience in a leadership role already to apply - we’re looking for enthusiastic students who can show us their potential to take part. York Leaders is much more than simply learning about leadership - our 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.

York Leaders is a selective programme with only 90 available places available, running weeks 8 and 9 of Spring term 2022.

The application deadline for York Leaders 2022 has been extended and will now close Thursday 3 February 2022 (5pm GMT) - application details in the 'How to Apply' tab. 

Why take part?

As part of the programme you will:

  • Receive training from a group of experts in their field
  • Develop your understanding of the Social Change Model of leadership, part of the York Strengths Framework
  • Experience, explore and demonstrate leadership through a series of engaging activities covering a range of topics including ethical leadership, resilience and personal brand
  • Meet and build relationships with other motivated students 
  • 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
  • Have an opportunity to use, develop and reflect on your strengths
  • Build confidence in your leadership capabilities, skills, and what your next steps might be
  • Receive developmental feedback from your peers and a trained professional facilitator
  • 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 £1000 as part of York Award (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 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 People and Organisational Development team.

The programme

We are returning in 2022 to in-person delivery of York Leaders, with a hybrid programme comprising 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, a series of online webinars will be available alongside your independent group work. 

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 28 February 2022 (Spring term week 8) 

Session 2: 5-8pm Tuesday 1 March 2022 (Spring term week 8)

Presentation and celebration day: 9am-5:30pm Saturday 12 March 2021 (Spring term week 9)

Please note 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.

Eligibility and Your Commitment


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. 

We recognise that getting experience has been harder over the last 18 months. 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 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 8 and the final in-person presentation and celebration day in week 9 of the programme 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). 

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

How to apply

York Leaders is a selective programme with only 90 available places in 2021/22.

The Application deadline for York Leaders 2022 has been extended and will now close Thursday 3 February 2022 (5pm GMT).

Apply now for York Leaders 2022

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:

  • What appeals to you about the York Leaders programme
  • The activities you’ve taken part in so far, and how these demonstrate your potential to benefit from the York Leaders programme
  • What you’d like to be remembered for as a ‘York 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 Thursday 3 February (week 4 Spring term). We will then be in touch to let you know whether your application has been successful by the end of Spring term week 6.

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, 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.

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 on the York Leaders programme will have the opportunity to demonstrate and gain certified recognition for their leadership qualities. 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.