Bristol’s award-winning leadership scheme Stepping Up to be extended: Horumar Somali Women's Group (which has roots in the Stepping Up programme) photo

13 Aug 2020

Corporate Economy, Enterprise, Business and Jobs Mayoral & Vision

Bristol’s award-winning leadership scheme Stepping Up to be extended

Stepping Up is a leadership development scheme for women, BAME and disabled people 

The future of diverse leadership in Bristol has received a boost this week with the announcement of an extension to the city’s innovative talent programme specifically for black and minority ethnic people, disabled people and women.

Since being launched by Baroness MacGregor-Smith and the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, in January 2018, 149 participants have graduated from the award-winning programme designed to support underrepresented groups to progress to senior roles in the city.

A contract to deliver the programme until 2021 has been secured with the aim of supporting additional graduates through the programme.

The latest contract will deliver the programme whilst generating support to become a self-sustainable programme with an annual intake of new graduates. As a result Stepping Up will continue to grow its talent pool of diverse future leaders unlike any other in the UK.

Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor of Bristol & Cabinet Lead for Communities, Equalities, and Public Health, said:
“Diversity, race and opportunity are currently topics of global discussion following the worldwide movement to identify the challenges Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities face on a daily basis. The weight of history and the message of the movement are felt heavily in Bristol where we recognise the legacy of over 400 years of oppression in our everyday structures. Whilst we have been recognising the inequalities 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. I wish to also thank all of our partners who continue to support the programme and the brighter future it offers for Bristol’s BAME communities.”

Stepping Up works by establishing structures of support that guide, advise and hone talent in the city so that there should always be a steady flow of individuals with not only the aspiration but also the skills to reach senior roles. The programme is cross-sector and is co-created with 65 partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Professor Christine Bamford, 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."

The impact of Stepping Up has been far reaching both within Bristol City Council and across partner organisations. Participants were mentored by 46 senior leaders including CEOs from across the sectors. Employers have indicated a significant shift in leadership capabilities, motivation and self-confidence as a result. All attribute these achievements to the Stepping Up programme.

The impact of Stepping Up is far reaching and it has recently been found to support participants as follows:

  • 96% of participants reported increased confidence
  • 60% of participants have moved on to a more senior role
  • 20% of participants applied for magistrate opportunities
  • 15% of participants have secured non-executive / directorship roles
  • 6 participants have joined an MBA Leadership Programme
  • 1 participant has been elected as a Town Councillor