What is the Leadership Exchange Programme?

British Council’s Leadership Exchange Programme funds and facilitates reciprocal visits between leaders and senior managers from skills institutions in the UK and overseas. The programme seeks to build leadership capacity within the Further Education sector through facilitating international collaboration. Participants will have the opportunity to share expertise, explore solutions to common challenges, and forge professional relationships across cultures.

How does the programme work?

Successful UK applicants are carefully paired by British Council with a leader or senior manager overseas to develop tailored programmes for their visits, designed to tackle and explore the specific challenges each participant faces. Each partner is awarded a £2,000 grant to facilitate one visit to their counterpart’s institution (organisations will be expected to match fund the grant contribution by covering staff time). Support and advice is provided by British Council throughout the process to ensure the exchange delivers maximum benefit for the organisations and countries involved. 

Current opportunities and how to apply

We are delighted to announce seven opportunities to partner with skills institutions in South Africa. As the economic powerhouse of Sub-Saharan Africa, the demand for skills development in South Africa continues to increase. In order to maintain growth, the country’s skills institutions must continue to innovate and advance, and many of South Africa’s Further Education colleges have recognised that international collaboration is one way in which this might be achieved.  

British Council South Africa has therefore identified seven organisations whose leaders are hoping to partner with their peers in the UK. These colleges share attributes, aims and challenges with the UK sector, and an assessment panel will ensure leaders working in similar contexts, targeting comparable goals or with the expertise sought after by their counterpart are paired to ensure participants derive maximum impact from their involvement in the programme. 

In order to apply, please read our Application Form Guidance Notes 2017, available to download below, before submitting an Application Form here. In order to be considered for the May 2017 opportunities in South Africa, the Application Form must be submitted by 10am GMT 27 June 2017. British Council will assess and shortlist the applications and notify successful institutions. 


Please find below a brief timeline of key activities:

Activity Dates
Deadline for submission of Application Form 27 June 2017
Applicants notified 28 June 2017
Partnership start date 1 July 2017
Initial teleconferences between paired leaders Week beginning 3 July 2017
Deadline for submission of programme (UK visit to South Africa) 1 September 2017
UK visit to South Africa 1 – 9 October 2017
Deadline for submission of programme (South Africa visit to UK) 15 January 2018
South Africa visit to UK 18 – 26 February 2018
Partnership end date 31 March 2018

For further details on the key activities, please refer to the Application Form Guidance Notes, available to download below.

If you have any questions, please contact skills@britishcouncil.org.