Impetus Leadership Academy

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In partnership with Bank of America, we are delivering a unique programme of management training, personal development, and corporate mentorship for emerging leaders from the UK youth sector, from ethnic minority backgrounds, to support them into senior leadership positions.

The ILA has been brilliant for me. I have an amazing coach and brilliant mentor from Bank of America who have helped to break down some barriers for me as a person of colour. They have helped me to further believe in myself and my abilities and to see my leadership skills under a different lens. I still have work to do but I’m confident I will get there - and today is quite a poignant day because today I was promoted to become a Director at my charity!

Samantha Marcus, Director of Services, Power2

The programme

The programme, now in its second year, supports participants to explore and develop their personal leadership styles, increase their knowledge in key management topics, and access networks that can unlock more senior leadership roles.

In October 2021 we welcomed our first twelve participants into our Leadership Academy. While on the programme, seven participants secured new or additional roles within the UK youth sector.

The programme is designed and delivered by people from ethnic minority backgrounds for people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The issue

Analysis shows that leadership teams within the UK charity sector are predominantly white, and funders are disproportionately funding white-led charities. Yet we know that racial diversity is not only good for society, but it is also good for business - teams with greater ethnic diversity perform better and make better decisions than non-diverse teams.

Analysis also shows that there is a race gap in youth employment with young people from minority backgrounds twice as likely to be unemployed than their White peers. Young people from ethnic minorities are also more likely to be in low paid, less secure jobs and work in more precarious conditions.

The Leadership Academy aims to support the development of future leaders and their organisations, to contribute to the national conversation on issues facing young people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK, and ultimately improve the effectiveness of the UK youth sector.

Course Content

The Academy is a 12-month free programme funded by Bank of America, and consists of:

Masterclasses and networking events

  • 6-8 group masterclasses on key leadership topics, including: financial and impact management, fundraising and influencing
  • Participants will also have the opportunity to attend networking events with funders and sector leaders

Coaching and Mentoring

  • 6 one-to-one coaching sessions focussed on personal development
  • At least 6 mentoring sessions with a senior member of Bank of America staff

Participation requires approximately 2 days per month during office hours. Course delivery will be a mix of online and in-person.


The Impetus Leadership Academy is aimed at aspiring leaders within the UK youth sector, working with young people aged 11-24.

Applicants must be from ethnic minority backgrounds and be middle managers or senior managers looking to move into a more senior role, current CEOs of small charities looking to lead a larger organisation.

We particularly encourage applications from outside of London, from participants from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Black, and Gypsy / Roma / Traveller backgrounds, and from participants who have lived experience of the issues faced by the young people they work with.

Suitable candidates will:

  • Be currently working for a charity or social enterprise
  • Have commitment to the youth sector in the UK evidenced by past experience and future ambition
  • Have experience of leadership evidenced by results of leading an organisation, significant project or campaign, or other similar experience
  • Have ambition to take on a more senior role in the sector, and be a voice in the national conversation on issues for young people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK
  • Be able to fully commit to all ILA course content (illustrative dates listed in FAQs above) across the 12 month programme

Why Impetus

At Impetus, our mission is to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed in school, in work and in life.

We have over 15 years’ experience training leaders and building high performing organisations working in youth employment and the wider sector, and we are pleased to be extending this training specifically to future leaders from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Building on our own training toolkit, the programme also draws on input from experts working on issues of race in the workplace and in leadership.

The programme is one part of our work that addresses the lack of racial diversity within the sector and is part of our organisational commitment to embedding racial diversity in all aspects of our work and helping our charity partners to become more diverse too.

How to apply and timelines

Step one

Confirm eligibility

Read this page in full then please complete our online eligibility survey to confirm you are eligible to apply. We are no longer accepting applications for the 2022/3 cohort.

Open from Monday 4 April. Closes at midnight on Sunday 8 May.

Step two

Application form

If eligible you will be sent a link to the application. Application will consist of uploading your CV, providing information about your current org, providing two references and answering 5 questions about your experience as a leader.

We will let you know by the end of 20 May if you are invited for an interview to further discuss your application.

Open from Monday 4 April. Closes at midnight on Monday 2 May.

Step three


If you have been shortlisted for the academy, you will be invited to meet virtually with Impetus between Monday 23 May and Friday 27 May. This is a chance to hear more about you and your experience as a leader to help assess if this programme is a good fit.

Monday 23 May – Friday 27 May

Step four

Panel review, final approval and invitation

The Impetus Leadership Academy panel will review all shortlisted candidates and work to curate a cohort of 12 that span different levels of leadership and experience with an aim to build a rich cohort effect. Candidates will be informed of their final result by mid-June.


Step five

Programme start

The programme will launch mid-October 2022.


Find out more