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Students in classroom
Students in classroom

The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson programme has been developing NHS leaders since 2013 when it was first commissioned by the NHS Leadership Academy. Delivered in partnership by the Health Services Management Centre at the University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester, ten years later the programme is still going strong, which is a remarkable achievement.

We boast over 4,700 completers across the NHS and the wider care sector across England and the original conception of developing leaders where leadership is actually practised – in the wards and services in the NHS – is as compelling today as it ever was.

The NHS context has naturally evolved over time, but the underpinning ethos of identifying and nurturing leaders and leadership behaviours at the level of self, team and at organisation and system level, is an enduring model.

When we launched this Programme in 2013, the principle that we used was one key, powerful question: “what’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?”. Feedback from participants and independent evaluations illustrate the positive impact the programme has had on individuals and those on the ‘receiving end’ of their leadership practice. We know the impact it has had in enabling participants to flourish and for their teams and organisations to be more connected and compassionate. We also regularly hear from Anderson participants how important peer connection is for our learners and the real benefits of an organisation and system wide approach to leadership development.

As we mark this wonderful milestone, the Anderson ethos lives on through diversifying into delivery as a level 7 apprenticeship, which allows us to broaden our scope and inclusivity as well as allowing the NHS to leverage levy funding. We know that Anderson makes a difference; 6 months after completing the programme, 54% of participants report they have been promoted, of which 89% participants believe the programme contributed to this.

With the 10th anniversary of the programme, work has begun to develop a bespoke alumni community of Anderson participants, of which you are a part. To help us celebrate this milestone, we are inviting Anderson alumni to reflect and share their memories of the programme; we look forward to reading them.

Over the past ten years, we have laid the foundations of producing an evidence base about the impact of healthcare leadership on service improvement and on patient care. Everybody associated with the Anderson Programme can be proud of what we have achieved, and it is with confidence and pride that we can celebrate the first ten years of developing leaders with a purpose.

Here's to the next ten!

6 months after completing the programme, 54% of participants report they have been promoted, of which 89% participants believe the programme contributed to this.

Steve Gulati, University of Birmingham and Ann Mahon, University of Manchester