News / Stepping Up

Bristol’s diverse leadership scheme to be expanded

By Ellie Pipe, Thursday Aug 13, 2020

A talent programme with the potential to reshape Bristol’s civic and private sector leadership is to be extended until 2021.

The award-winning Stepping Up scheme was launched by baroness MacGregor-Smith and mayor Marvin Rees in 2018 in a bid to provide support and training to help underrepresented groups progress into more senior roles in their chosen field.

The latest contract will deliver the programme whilst generating support for it to become self-sustainable, with an annual intake of new graduates, enabling the scheme to further grow its talent pool.

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Specifically for black and minority ethnic people, women and disabled people, Stepping Up works by establishing structures of support that guide, advise and hone talent in the city to ensure people have not only the aspiration but also the skills to reach leadership roles.

Speaking about the importance of the programme, deputy mayor Asher Craig said: “Whilst we have been recognising the inequalities black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities face locally for some time, we have also been taking action to begin breaking down those barriers to education, health and work opportunities.

“Stepping Up represents an opportunity to take necessary steps towards reimagining our civic and sector leadership by equipping BAME talent with the tools and experience needed to take on leadership roles.

“I’m delighted to see this programme move into the next phase of its evolution and take steps to become a permanent fixture of our city offer for as long as it is needed.”

Stepping Up was launched in 2018 – photo courtesy of Bristol City Council

Stepping Up is a cross-sector programme and is co-created with 65 partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors. Since its launch in January 2018, 149 participants have graduated from the scheme.

Of these; 96 per cent participants reported increased confidence, 60 per cent have moved on to a more senior role, 20 per cent applied for magistrate opportunities, 15 per cent have secured non-executive or directorship roles. Six of the participants have joined an MBA Leadership Programme and one has been elected as a town councillor.

The latest contract was commissioned by Bristol City Council and awarded to Bloom Procurement Services Limited, with specialist providers Davidson and Partners set to deliver the programme.

Professor Christine Bamford, the programme director of Stepping Up said: “I am delighted that as the architect of Stepping Up I will be able to continue this vital work to ensure that our vision to change the diversity of the employment landscape becomes a reality.”

Main photo of Horumar Somali Women’s Group (which has roots in the Stepping Up programme) – photo courtesy of Bristol City Council

Read more: ‘There’s never been a more important time to put equality at the forefront of business’


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