Welcome from Paul Greatrix

"Excellent universities need excellent people.  If you are a University seeking to attract the best graduate talent, or you are a graduate who wants an exciting, rewarding, and meaningful career, then the Ambitious Futures scheme is for you."

Ambitious Futures was established in 2012 by the Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA). It became a subsidiary company of the University of Nottingham in 2015. 

It is an award-winning programme.

The Scheme

The scheme is delivered in close collaboration with our partner Universities. Successful candidates are selected via a rigorous three-stage assessment process. Trainees undertake three six-month placements, in two different universities.  In this way they gain first-hand experience of three different functional areas, and two contrasting institutional cultures and environments.

In parallel with their practical placements trainees follow a bespoke professional development programme, designed and delivered by the University of Nottingham's Leadership Management Academy. They also have group coaching, mentoring, workshops, and conference attendance.

October: Applications open for following year
January: Applications close
March: Candidate Assessment Centres
September: Programme starts

Learn about the Scheme

Applicants Partners

Member Board




Dr Paul Greatrix (Chair)


University of Nottingham

Richard Calvert

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategy and Operations)

Sheffield Hallam University

Dr Neale Laker

Director of Academic & Corporate Governance

University of Dundee

Nicola Owen

Chief Administrative Officer

Lancaster University

Rachel Sandby-Thomas CB


University of Warwick

Paula Sanderson

Registrar and Secretary

(Chief Operating Officer)

SOAS University of London

Dr Nalayini Thambar

Director of Careers and Employability

University of Nottingham

Paul R Thomas CBE

Chief Operating Officer

Brunel University London

Sally Jones

Chief Operating Officer

Ambitious Futures

© The Graduate Programme for University Leadership 2016. All Rights Reserved.