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Leadership Programme

The CBI's Leadership Programme is an exclusive opportunity for senior business leaders to develop the skills to read, understand and influence the external environment including government and the wider political landscape.

The 2017/18 application window is now open, with very limited spaces available. 

Book now to secure a place.

Drawing on the CBI’s unique influence, insight and access, the programme supports business succession planning by ensuring senior leaders are prepared for this crucial aspect of business leadership as they prepare to make the step to board level.

Through sessions in Westminster & Whitehall, Brussels, India, USA or China, and a UK region, participants are given the tools, techniques and contacts to more effectively map their context for doing business and build their engagement and influence with government and other stakeholders.

The programme is held over ten days between September and June. Learning takes place through:

  • Expert-led discussions, theory and role play sessions: Learn from the CBI team’s experience of building campaigns and strategies to influence the policy and legislative environment in a way that works for business.
  • Meetings with key players from government: Tackle current issues in real time, meeting with key government stakeholders to challenge their thinking on the issues discussed in the media and develop practical solutions, driving real benefit for business.
  • Interviews with top-level business leaders: Meet and question some of the most senior members of the business community on how they have built their own influence.
  • Best practice site visits and case studies: Tour some of the UK’s most innovative businesses and find out more about how other companies manage their stakeholder relationships and profile building on key issues.
  • A senior and diverse cross-sector peer network: The rigorous selection process ensures all participants are at a similar level of seniority, and reflects the diversity of British business. This supports innovative thinking, the sharing of different approaches and the opportunity for critical challenge and debate. As well as this, a strong alumni network allows all participants to continue to benefit from the valuable relationships they will build over the course of the programme. 

The CBI's Leadership Programme is unique, with some highlights from previous years including: 

  • Hearing directly from the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition at the CBI Annual Conference
  • Meeting a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister at Number 10 Downing Street
  • Dining with the leaders of British business at the CBI's President's Dinner and hearing from the Shadow Home Secretary in the run up to the General Election
  • Meeting the President of the Welsh National Assembly and CEO of the Scottish Parliament to discuss devolved policy making
  • Touring a number of manufacturing facilities across the UK, and hearing more about local stakeholder engagement and its importance in running a successful organisation
  • Meeting with MEPs within the European Parliament to discuss the UK's place within the EU

Who should apply? 

We encourage applications from all sizes and sectors of business, and from all regions.

Participants should: 

  • Be within 2 years of main board level (or equivalent level for a small or medium sized organisation), already leading a significant part of the business, with a desire to gain a further understanding of the wider political and policy environment
  • Have the support and commitment of their CEO or Chairman
  • Be prepared to commit ten days of their time between September and June

Selection to the programme is competitive and decisions are made by an independent panel of senior business leaders chaired by the CBI President.

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