The Graduate Programme for University Leadership

What's the best way to complete the application form?

Our Graduate Programme is competitive and we receive a large number of high-quality applications so it is crucial that your answers are an accurate and compelling statement of your interest in and suitability for the programme and the university sector.

Read the website and watch the video of existing trainees as these will give you a good idea about the types of tasks you will be expected to complete and the types of strengths, skills and behaviours you will have to demonstrate on a regular basis.

Fill in your application carefully.

This is your first opportunity to make a good impression. If you get through to our 'day in the life' assessment centre, senior leaders from a mix of universities will see your application form, so make sure it's accurate and that you spell-check it.

Use specific-work related examples where you can.

Think about what the question is asking you and what type of strengths or behaviours we might be interested in. Try and structure your answers to ensure that they will make sense to our team and provide specific examples from aspects of your academic, working and social life to convince us you are the right person for the programme.

Check that your contact phone number & email address are correct!

These are our only ways to contact you.


  • Make note of all deadlines
  • Answer all of the questions (i.e. don't leave any blank boxes or skip out any questions)
  • Check your answers against the strengths and behaviours that are important to us
  • Write clearly and accurately. Use spell-check and check your grammar!
  • Try to provide relevant information (i.e. we are interested in how your strengths and skills link to the programme and how you will add value)
  • Get feedback: ask your friends and family for examples of your strengths (i.e. what do they think you are naturally good at, what are you passionate about, what have you excelled in previously)

What should I expect at the Video Interview Stage?

Be yourself and be honest. We want to understand who you are and what value you will add to the university sector. There is no point in simply telling us what you think you should be saying or learning answers by heart (our assessors will know if you have done this). We want to hire talented individuals who fit with our vision for the future and have the potential to succeed as a future leader within the university sector.

Be engaging and enthusiastic! We are utilising a strengths-focused approach to assessment so we are not only interested in your skills and previous experience but also your enthusiasm, passion and what motivates you at work.

Try to give us real-life examples of where you have done something similar in the past. Think about the roles and responsibilities you have had to date and your achievements, whether in a social, academic or work context. Also, think about how you might deal with certain situations if you had to face them in this new role/on the programme. What would you do, what strengths do you have and how would you utilise these to succeed?

Structure your answers in a meaningful way. Use the STAR approach - tell us about the situation, the task that you had to complete, the action you took and the final result or outcome

The Assessment Centre

The assessment centre day is designed to give us a realistic picture of you and your abilities and to see if you are a 'good fit' for our programme. It will also give you an insight into what it is like to work in the university sector and will give you the opportunity to meet some of our senior leaders as well as current trainees.

Make sure you prepare for the Assessment Centre. You can do this by:

  • Reviewing the information on our website
  • Making sure you understand the requirements of the programme and the different types of projects you can be involved in (i.e. watch the video of the existing trainees)
  • Thinking about your strengths (i.e. what energises you and what you are naturally good at) and how you have used these to succeed in the past
  • Think about our core competency areas detailed in the strengths focused assessment.

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