aspiring leaders graduate


The Aspiring Leaders Programme (ALP) is an innovative leadership development programme run by Brathay, University of Cumbria and Common Purpose.

It takes an innovative approach to learning by combining formal academic teaching with experiential learning and personal development. Participants are those seeking careers in the Third Sector.

We focus on:

  • Reinvigorating the voluntary and community sector
  • Retaining talented young people in Cumbria and North Lancashire
  • Providing positive role models within the community
  • Raising wider community aspirations, affluence and skills


ALP is a 3-year degree course for 20–30-year-olds interested in volunteering or working in the voluntary and community sector in Cumbria and North Lancashire. It’s aimed at those who may not have particularly academic backgrounds, or for whom university may not have been an option in the past. Nominated by local sector leaders, candidates undergo an assessment process before being offered a place.

The course is funded by The Francis C. Scott Charitable Trust which has a close allegiance with Brathay. Their support reduces from 90% to 60% over the coming years so, as a charity, Brathay needs to continue to provide the shortfall in funding.

We believe it is wholly worthwhile, not least because it is enabling talented individuals to live and work in communities they know and love, but evaluation of the programme shows there has been a positive impact on individuals, the community and the wider sector - including organisations who have hosted participants. Students have acted as role models for other young people in their community, helping to tackle a low aspiration culture, and they are empowered to fill the ‘gaps’ in their community.

What ALP provides:

  • A chance to attend leadership and personal development residentials at Brathay Hall
  • Frequent degree lectures and seminars at the University of Cumbria
  • Ongoing support from an experienced leadership mentor
  • Opportunity to work on different employment/volunteering placements
  • Experience of running leadership projects
  • Awarded a fully accredited Degree in Social Enterprise Leadership