Common Purpose
Frontrunner for Disabled Students

We run Frontrunner programmes specifically for disabled students in partnership with universities across the UK.


We have now delivered more than ten programmes for disabled students in cities throughout the UK, including London, Glasgow, Nottingham and Liverpool.

Over 400 disabled students have participated on the programmes, representing over 100 universities.

Frontrunner for Disabled Students gets students off-campus and out into the city where they are studying to discover how it works, and doesn't work.

Students take part in challenging discussions with senior leaders, all of whom are potential employers, and behind the scenes visits to organisations across the sectors.


Abigail Taylor, University of Oxford

"My confidence has increased dramatically, and my enthusiasm and belief that I can develop the skills to lead in my community and make an impact has been boosted. I have been inspired by many of the people I have met, and touched in a way I did not expect. I also feel I have gained skills in effective teamwork, inclusiveness and openness, public speaking and persuading people." 

The experience

What will you do?
  • Investigate how leadership operates in practice
  • Learn about where power and influence lies in a city
  • Tackle real life organisational challenges and present ideas for solutions to the organisations you visit
  • Work in and lead teams
  • Meet senior leaders and benefit from their experience
Who could you meet?

Participants on the programme have met leaders from organisations such as:

  • Santander
  • PwC
  • Unilever
  • Local Authorities
  • NHS
  • The Observer
  • Princes Trust
  • YMCA
  • UnLtd

About the three days

Day 1

A chance to explore leadership and appreciate the diversity in the participant group, develop the core skills of effective questioning and active listening and hear from a senior leader sharing the lessons from their leadership journey.

Day 2

The day is an investigation into how leadership operates in practice. Participants will explore the two concepts of power and influence. A panel of senior leaders from the city will discuss their personal views about power in relation to leadership. Participants will go out into the city to explore challenges faced by a range of organisations and are tasked with coming up with ideas and solutions to present back to the organisation.

Day 3

Participants will meet a series of senior leaders from the city for informal conversations about how to overcome challenges and obstacles as a leader. Participants reflect on challenges ahead and develop core skills of public speaking, pitching and networking. Participants explore the skills and opportunities available to them through their own networks and celebrate their learning.

We are proud to partner with the University of Derby to deliver Frontrunner for Disabled Students.