Common Purpose

A leadership course designed to support the leadership development of third-level students.


Frontrunner is for third-level students who have a track record of leading change.

Through the programme, these students can set their sights even higher as they look ahead beyond full-time education.

Participants visit a wide range of organizations and quiz leaders from many different walks of life. This gives future generations of leaders a rare opportunity to broaden their knowledge, plan their future and develop their leadership skills.

Who is Frontrunner for?

Frontrunner is designed for third-level students over the age of 18 who have demonstrated their capacity to lead. The programme attracts people from across Ireland who have different backgrounds, interests and experience.

As with all our programmes, the participant group on Frontrunner will be diverse in terms of background, experience, sector, outlook and approach.

Participants share and challenge each other and discover that this diversity - far from being a weakness - provides a key strength of the course.

What are the benefits of Frontrunner?

  • On the programme, participants visit businesses, campaigning organizations and civic institutions.
  • They challenge leaders from prisons, newspapers, hospitals, production plants, political parties, faiths and many more.
  • They plough through case studies, present their findings and distill the learning.
  • They work together on leadership dilemmas and challenge each others' biases.
  • They determinedly learn, share, connect, argue and squeeze every ounce of learning out of Frontrunner.
  • After the course, participants tend to stay in touch and keep the Frontrunner experience going.

Frontrunner Graduate, St. John's Central College

"I have learnt not to be shy or afraid to talk within a group, I learnt about the diversity of leadership and about how personalities can change my view on different issues. I have gained more self-awareness that will help me get to the place that I want to be. This programme is a fantastic way to open your mind to leadership and different personalities."

Frontrunner impact


said that they now feel better equipped to engage with diversity


think that the experience helped them to identify new opportunities


said that Frontrunner represented good value for their time


would recommend Frontrunner to others

Programme Format and Location


Frontrunner is usually a three or four-day course.

On the programme, participants will go on visits to businesses, institutions and organizations to get a behind-the-scenes perspective on an organization and sector. They will also deal with real-life leadership dilemmas and learn from the experiences of leaders from all sectors of society.

Participants will be challenged personally through diversity exercises and being part of a learning group with whom they'll share, connect, and be held accountable throughout the process.


Frontrunner programmes are held at different times through out the year and are open programmes engaging a number of third-level institutions throughout Ireland.

For more information on upcoming programmes and how to apply, contact the Common Purpose team in DUblin (01) 872 9322 or email

Frontrunner graduate, Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa

Interaction with a variety of people has always been a part of my life. Now I feel that when I'm listening that the speaker knows they're being heard and when I'm speaking there are people willing to hear.The programme is a fantastic use of your time. I'm so glad my course director put me forward for this - I loved it!

Upcoming student programmes

Common Purpose courses for student leaders

Programme Start date Audience
Frontrunner 20, 21 February & 1, 2 March 2018 Third-level students Contact us
Your Turn 24, 25, 26 April 2018 Transition Year students Contact us

Applying to the programme

How to apply

Download an application form using the link in this page's header and send it via email or post to your local Common Purpose Dublin office.

For more informations about the overall application process or for general questions, please get in touch using the online enquiries form.

Financial assistance

There are a number of almost full- (every participant must make some contribution) and part-bursary places provided on every Common Purpose course for participants who are genuinely unable to meet the full fee. 

Applicants who cannot pay the full fee should not be deterred from applying. If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please fill in the section of the application form for bursary candidates. For guidance or information, please contact us.

Everyone who has completed a Common Purpose programme will be offered a 20% reduction on the fee of any future courses they attend. Please notify us in your programme application if you wish to apply for this reduction.