Graduate Development Programme - Ambitious Futures

Graduate Development Programme - Ambitious FuturesAmbitious Futures

The national Graduate Trainee Programme (GTP) aimed at developing a pipeline for future leaders and managers within the HE sector was designed by a consortium of partners of which included Association of Heads of University Administration, AUA and UCL in 2012.  The scheme was designed to be generic in its focus as it sought to produce a pipeline to introduce the next cadre of managers and leaders to the administrative function across the HE sector. The original scheme was piloted by 8 institutions across three regional clusters. The London cluster consisted of Kingston University, Royal Holloway and UCL.

Current Programme
The programme has now developed to become Ambitious Futures.  It is being run as a three year pilot programme, sponsored by the Association of Heads of University Administration with a view to it becoming a national scheme by 2016.

Graduate Development ProgrammeThe programme for each intake of graduates is currently 15 months in length. Graduates are employed by their institution and undertake three differing placements, the second of which is at another university in their regional cluster. Graduates undertake an academic qualification and are placed in learning sets. They also have the opportunity to participate in other training and development activities.

The first intake of graduates from eight institutions took place in September 2012. A further six institutions were involved in the next intake which took place in January 2014. The third intake will start in September 2015 when the regional scope of the scheme will also be expanded. Thereafter, intakes will take place annually in September.

For the length of the pilot, graduates will be recruited from the institutions involved in the scheme. Applicants must have graduated within the five years of the programme start date.
Institutions involved in the first and second phases of the scheme are:

Register your Interest

To register your interest in the graduate programme, please visit the Ambitious Futures microsite. The microsite will be open for full applications on 10th October 2014 and will close for applications on 28th November 2014


Profile: Kathleen Minett

Graduate Trainee

Kathleen MinettDuring my time on the graduate training programme at I experienced a variety of departments and projects which were invaluable to me as a newcomer to the sector. From HR to BEAMS and the Library, I experienced both the professional services and faculty side of working at UCL which helped give me an insight in to different areas within the University community as well as gaining sector specific knowledge of departments. What I really enjoyed about the programme was the responsibility I was trusted with early on. I was given the opportunity to really throw myself in to projects but also had the support of more senior managers along the way. At UCL I felt I had the freedom to develop in areas I wanted with support from managers, mentors and peers.

To anyone thinking of applying to the scheme at UCL I would say go for it! The scheme at UCL is a really great way to experience different areas of work in an environment which really fosters growth and development. UCL is a place that I felt proud to work for, not only because of its prestige as a world leading University but also because of the opportunity to work with knowledgeable and experienced colleagues. The experiences of working at UCL have been unique and the vast knowledge, skills and networks I developed in such a short time frame have been invaluable to the beginnings of my career.

Profile: Hayley Simpson

Graduate Trainee

Hayley SimpsonI first learned of the Higher Education Graduate Trainee Programme whilst working as an English teacher in Beijing for the British Council.  What really caught my eye about this scheme was the fact that trainees would have the chance to undertake three diverse placements across two different institutions. I thought that sounded really exciting and unique.  It would also mean working in a sector I was passionate about, so I applied and was accepted onto the scheme. 

My first placement was in the Academic Research Support Centre within the School of Life and Medical Sciences (SLMS).  My second placement was in the European Study Abroad Office at Kingston University. Having studied abroad as a student, I was looking forward to building upon my own experiences within a professional context. For my third and final placement I was assigned to a Service Improvement project in Research Applications within the Information Services Division (ISD) at UCL. 

Throughout the fifteen month scheme, UCL supported my development and challenged me to work in areas I had perceived to be out of my comfort zone. I worked with talented, inspirational and fun people and I could not have wished for a better introduction to my career.  After graduating from the scheme in November 2013, I started my current role of Governance Administrator at Queen Mary University of London. Anyone looking to find a flexible and supportive employer within higher education should consider UCL!