NHS Leadership Academy launches ‘Ready Now’ programme aimed at senior BME leaders

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Applications are now open for the Ready Now programme, the innovative and inspirational positive action programme from the NHS Leadership Academy.

Portrait shots of Patrick Nyarumbu, former Ready Now / Breaking Through programme participant.
Former participant, Patrick Nyarumbu

Building on the success the Academy has already had working with leaders from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, the programme will be officially launched at the NHS Leadership Academy’s Black History Month seminar, which takes place in London on the same day.

The year-long Ready Now programme looks to take senior leaders from a BME background on a transformational learning journey, helping them to realise their potential and to take that next step up to a more senior role, to the boardroom and beyond.

Following a thorough selection process, one hundred applicants will be selected to take part in Ready Now, which will run across the course of 2015. The programme will combine face-to-face residential development modules with self-directed and workplace-based learning. Participants will benefit from some coaching input and will also be asked to coach at least one other BME NHS colleague to help them develop their leadership potential.

The Ready Now programme is building on the huge success of similar programmes which the Leadership Academy has overseen, including the Breaking Through programme which saw 75% of its alumni go on to secure more senior roles in the NHS.

Former programme participant Patrick Nyarumbu, who is now working as Deputy Executive Nurse and Deputy Director of Quality at City Wide Commissioning, North, South and Central Manchester CCGs, describes how he benefitted from his time on the programme: “It focuses on the challenges you face in the system and equips you with the skills to overcome them.”

Jan Sobieraj, Managing Director of the NHS Leadership Academy said: “The Leadership Academy is committed to the promotion and development of an inclusive and diverse workforce at all levels in the health service. The Ready Now programme will play an important role in preparing the next generation of Chief Executives and senior leaders from BME backgrounds. It’s important work and I’m very much looking forward to the programme getting underway.”

Nearly 20% of the 1.3 million people that work in the NHS are from BME backgrounds – without this section of the workforce, many of whom are doctors, nurses and midwives, the NHS could not function. The Ready Now programme fits in to the NHS Leadership Academy’s wider programme of work to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the health service, including its work to develop more inclusive NHS boards.

13 thoughts on “NHS Leadership Academy launches ‘Ready Now’ programme aimed at senior BME leaders

  1. Can you tell me if this is aimed at Senior leaders that aspire to be in a director role or service leads?

  2. I’m confused as I often am by The academy :-), I presume Jan means “getting underway again”?

    Anyway it’s a shame that despite the low numbers of BME people applying to any course within the academy and the 90 spaces are now being offered to band 8a, I suggest there should be some though to the differential impact of race and resilience in the progression through the ranks in rural trusts where there are examples of no or very few nurses from a BME background who are band 8a or above.

    Yet the band 7 nurses I have met have done MSC, advanced clinical practitioner courses yet held below the concrete ceiling by the entry requirements, the lack of social resource to assist with building resilience and self belief as well as recognising self limiting behaviours all of this is addressed in ready now. So the solution is in part there. If only we think differently what ready now means. To me it’s not about ready to go from 8b to band 9 its ready now to be viewed and valued equally!

    If we do what we’ve always done then we will get what we already have.

    Time to think differently and radically to NHS leadership development I think.

    Personally I found the ready now course very different to the disaster that was the Nye Bevan in that it was a safe, positive learning environment that addressed the issues of difference, ethnicity and power in a way I feel few would have grasped. It had some grounded academic backbone. It was refreshing to hear other cohort members involved in other LA programmes describing similar positive experiences on the ready now that they handy experienced on other LA courses.

    So I would recommend the course, as an interim measure, its by far not the solution to snowy white peaks but it can help reaffirm your own excellence and belief and act as antidote to system bias and doubt. You get to meet some great leaders and share learning in a positive environment.

    So if you are above 8a apply and if your not I suggest getting in touch with the academy as the regions are supposed to be addressing BME development although I haven’t seen a great deal that’s suitable for band 7s with multiple degrees at masters levels. We really do need to step beyond the deficit model for the majority.

    Hope this has been useful

    Respect and hope as always
    Scott Durairaj

  3. I agree with scott above, I work in the nhs, I have a B.A honours in finance and a chartered institute of secretaries and administrators qualification, not a band 8a or above which means I cannot apply, even though I feel as a BME, I could benefit and develop further from this course.

    1. Hi Brian, thank you for responding to this blog. You are not the first to highlight the fact that there are many talented BME staff within the NHS who would definitely benefit from this type of input. Here at the Academy, we are currently in the process of having significant discussions about, what kinds of programmes are now needed to push forward inclusion; and how we might target these for maximum benefit within an increasingly leaner context of resources across Health and Care.

      It is our view that a significant focus of future work on inclusion should be about transforming the systems within which diverse staff and patients experience and encounter how their differences are valued and ascribed worth. We will do this work whilst also investing in the development of future leaders from diverse groups who are able to similarly have a leadership impact upon these systems for inclusion.

      In order for the above to happen, many shifts need to take place. As the Leadership Academy, we intend that our contribution will shape the wider conversation and direction of travel in this regard.

      We aim to bring a new approach to this work which develops leaders who have the essential capabilities to deliver increasing levels of inclusion within the systems in which they work. Importantly, the voices and experiences of those from marginalised groups must inform how this development takes place, so that the ongoing inclusive impact leaders then have, will be felt and positively experienced by those who this work should be reaching.

      We will be speaking with many groups over the next few months in order to better understand how we can ‘step up’ in this important regard and, of course, finding ways in which we might influence the wider system to do the same. Please look out for more information on this as our work on inclusion takes shape going forward, and do drop me a line at the Academy Brian, should you wish to discuss this further.

      We look forward to being part of an accelerated process which leads to lasting and positive inclusive change.

      (On behalf of Tracie Jolliff)

      1. Like Brian above, I have an MA and currently pursuing my PhD. I am a band 7 so would not be able to access Ready Now though I feel that I would benefit greatly from this. Please would you let us know whether you have been able to ‘step up’ and widen the participant base beyond those at band 8a and above? Many thanks. Liz

  4. An overwhelming majority of BMEs often mention the lack of support from line management as the number one reason for the lack of career progression.
    Line managers do a difficult job in assessing the strength and leadership potential of their line reports. They often make subjective judgements about their line reports to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, such judgements can be influence by unconscious bias, preferring those who are similar to them. It is the phenomena of unconscious bias that makes requiring the support of a line manager prior to applying for the ready now programme problematic.

    A lot of talented BMEs may be blocked by their line managers because of unwitting factors such as unconscious bias.

    I believe the requirement for support of a line management will set the work of the leadership academy back. It is not necessary.

    Instead, applicants should be required to provide references from a more senior person within their organisation instead limiting that to their line manager especially where the leadership academy is funding the programme.

    That way, the programme stands to eliminate any unconscious biases or even malicious intents from line managers who may be harbouring stereotyping beliefs inimical to the progress of their BMEs.
    It is will also prevent line managers from cherry picking, preferring their friends and relatives instead of talented BME candidates
    .
    Individuals discriminate, not organisationS. Removing the ability of line managers to influence the selection criteria will ensure you truly reach out to those BMEs who are ‘ready now’.

  5. I want to apply for the programme,but i am currently a band 7 clinical nurse specialist. Is there anything for band 7s ready for managerial positions?

    1. Thanks for your interest in the NHS Leadership Academy.

      There may be a local offer in your region delivered by your Local Development Partner, you can follow this link and click on the map for your region in order to obtain contact details.

      Alternatively, you may also be interested in The Mary Seacole programme for those either in, or aspiring to, their first leadership role. Applications are currently open via our website for dates in spring 2017.

      Many thanks,
      James.

  6. I currently work as a Band 8a Nurse and I would like to submit my application. I just wanted to find out if doing the programme would give me some credits towards a Masters programme