The Ambition to Lead Programme is designed to support the professional development of experienced nurses and allied health professionals working in the community to become future leaders in healthcare, to the benefit of the people, families and communities they serve.

Applications for 2024 are open until Monday 6th May 2024.

Who is it for?

The programme (previously called Aspiring Leaders) is open to any nurse or allied health professional (AHP), working in a community or primary care setting, including the charity or independent sector. The areas of practice may include, but is not limited to: nurses working in district nursing, general practice nursing, community children’s nursing, learning disability nursing, community matrons, community mental health, health visitors, school nurses, specialist nurses working in the community, inclusion health nurses, care home nurses and all adult social care and nurses working health and justice services, and Allied Health Professionals from a range of community backgrounds.

We actively seek to ensure that all our programmes have an equitable representation of the whole nursing  and AHP workforce, and Global Majority (BAME) applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. Please note, the programme is not exclusive to Queen’s Nurses; it is open to any nurse or AHP who meets the eligibility criteria.

This bespoke programme is a fantastic opportunity for nurses and AHPs who aspire to take the next step in their leadership career.

This is an excellent course that was described as ‘you’ll never have done anything like this before’ and that is true. An excellent variety of content and relevant subjects. The networking opportunities and the friends made are invaluable!

Participant feedback

What is it about?

The themes of the programme focus on self-development and personal reflection on compassionate leadership, understanding health and social care structures and a systems leadership approach to improvement and delivering high-quality care. There is an emphasis on leading others and people management during unprecedented change.

Benefits of the programme

Benefits of the QNI Aspiring Leaders Programme Benefits of the QNI Ambition to Lead Programme

Programme delivery

This programme will be delivered utilising a variety of different methods including presentations, facilitation, online sessions, lectures, and group work. There will be a residential component at the beginning and end of the programme.  

Participants on the programme will be exposed to different ways of thinking and learning and to expand their ability to embrace and think creatively. It is an expectation that participants will receive all experiences as an opportunity to learn and stimulate reflection to develop skills further as a leader.  

Quality Improvement Project

One of the most important ways in which the QNI and the participants will be able to evaluate the impact of the leadership programme, will be through the learning gained from the development of the Quality Improvement project. Throughout the programme there will be sessions that will focus on the Quality Improvement project work and assist the participant with planning. Participants are expected to take full advantage of these sessions as a way of ensuring that the project is completed over the year of the programme.


All participants will have access to a mentor to assist with their development as a leader in an organisation and their ability to lead others. The main role of the mentor is to assist the participant to focus on their professional career aspirations and development.

This programme has been career changing. The knowledge and skills have been practical to apply. The speakers, content and facilitators have been so inspiring and supportive.

Participant feedback

How much does it cost?

The cost of the year-long programme is £5,000 which includes face-to-face study days, some of which are residential, as well as online sessions. The fee also includes MBTI Assessment, mentor support and associated costs.

This programme can be funded by your employer, sponsoring organisation or self-funded*. You will need to demonstrate how you will cover the cost on your application form and it must be confirmed by your line manager in their letter of support. Participants are responsible for their own travel costs and any additional accommodation costs that you may incur due to your personal travel arrangements.

*If you are self-funding, you can apply for a £1000 grant from the QNI. Find out more.

Many of our staff have now been on the [renamed] Ambition to Lead programme and I would encourage all employers to consider sending their staff. Our staff learn new skills and really progress and develop their leadership skills. The programme is for nurses and AHP’s and our organisation has benefitted hugely from it due to the enhanced skills and knowledge our staff have brought back to the organisation. The staff themselves have also developed new networks and this in turn benefits them and the organisation, learning from others and sharing ideas. We continue to send our staff on this amazing programme.

Employer of the programme participant

Who is eligible to apply?

This programme is open to all nurses and allied health professionals (AHPs) working in the community and primary care setting, including care home nurses from England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Applicants must:

  • have a minimum of five years’ experience working in a community or primary care setting.
  • demonstrate a desire to progress to a leadership position beyond their current role.
  • provide a statement of support from their manager.

How to apply?

To apply for the programme, you need to: 

  1. Read the guidance and make sure you fit the eligibility criteria. 
  2. Obtain a letter of support from your line manager in PDF or JPG format. The letter must confirm how your course fees will be covered and that you will be released to attend all elements of the programme. 
  3. Complete the online application form by 23.59 on Monday 6th May 2024.

The interviews of the shortlisted applicants will take place on 13th and 14th May 2024.


If you have any questions, please contact our Leadership Programmes team at




I have absolutely loved this course, I feel I have found my purpose and professional path again. My confidence has increased twice fold and the imposter which was ruling my life is no longer in the driving seat. It has enabled me to be a better leader, by understanding myself I have a better understanding of others. I no longer react to situations, I respond, I actively listen, I have brave conversations rather than shying away. I am a confident leader and that is thanks to this course.

Participant feedback

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