Applications open for Minority Ethnic Leadership Development Programme

Applications have opened for a new leadership development programme in Scotland aimed at removing barriers faced by minority ethnic people.

Up to 50 people will benefit from a nine-month professional and personal development programme backed by mentoring, and placements across the public and third sectors.

It will focus on developing the professional and personal skills of participants, including negotiating and communication.

As part of the programme, all participants will have a part-time internship and will receive a National Living Wage equivalent grant, will be allocated a mentor to guide, motivate and help them with their career journey, and will have access to networking and employability opportunities.

Host organisations which have already signed up to the programme include Save the Children, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, Young Enterprise Scotland, British Red Cross, Mental Health Foundation, MEND, Shelter and Nature Scot, as well as the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament.

Applications for participants open today, with a deadline of Monday, July 19 , and the programme will run from September this year.

Kezia Dugdale, director of the John Smith Centre, said: "Diversity in public service makes for stronger, healthier representation and better public policy, but the institutional barriers faced by people from our diverse minority communities are immense.

"The John Smith Centre exists to break down barriers and we have reflected hard on what we could do that would make a meaningful difference.

"We have a strong track record in supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds develop the confidence, the networks and the experience they need to break through the challenges they face.

"We’re therefore extremely proud to now be collaborating with the Scottish Government to increase the scale of this work with an innovative leadership development programme for minority ethnic young people."

Minister for Equalities Christina McKelvie MSP said: "The Scottish Government is committed to achieving equality for all minority ethnic people and part of that means taking tangible steps to remove barriers and improve opportunities across society.

"Supporting life changing programmes like this to ensure our minority ethnic young people gain vital life skills and leadership qualities is a key priority in our quest to fully realise our ambitions for a fairer, more equal and prosperous Scotland. We must ensure our young people are given the tools to flourish in an ever changing world.

"I am pleased this leadership programme will support participants in accessing expert career advice and gain invaluable experiences that will equip them to be leaders in the challenges of today and tomorrow.

"I want to see talented young people from all walks of life taking part, including those who haven’t taken traditional academic routes to success. I hope the result will be an increase in numbers of minority ethnic people in leadership roles that reflect the society we live in."

How to Apply

Applications for participants open today, with a deadline of Monday, July 19 , and the programme will run from September this year.

Applications can be made online at

The John Smith Centre

The John Smith Centre exists to:

  • Make the positive case for politics and public service.

  • Promote civilised debate across the United Kingdom and to defend representative democracy, rooted in high quality research.

  • Support people with talent, but not the means, to access politics and public life.

It sets out to fulfil this mission through a number of activities, including:

  • Academic and practical research.

  • Employability initiatives.

  • Events, conferences and discussion panels.

  • Internship and development programmes.

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