Common Purpose

Frontrunner is a leadership development programme designed for university students to broaden their networks and develop skills to succeed in the future.

What is Frontrunner?

Students go off-campus and into the city or region in which they are studying to explore leadership in action. They take part in challenging discussions with senior leaders and visit organizations across different sectors to tackle real-life challenges. This allows them to broaden their networks and unlock the skills they need to succeed in the future.

The programme runs for three days, for up to 100 students.

What happens on the programme?

Students explore their personal leadership journeys and develop their skills through:

  • understanding how to thrive in diversity
  • meeting leaders from across sectors who share how they succeeded
  • exploring the concepts of power and influence, and the link between leadership and power
  • visiting organizations to develop solutions to challenges they face.
Professor Christine Ennew, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham

“The students found the course to be rewarding and enjoyable and their feedback was universally positive. I spent some time with them and was hugely impressed with what they had learned during such a short period of time.” 

Who is the programme for?

Frontrunner is designed to develop the skills of a wide range of students.

Our three-day programme can be tailored in order to enable you to benefit the students you most wish to develop; whether that is a cross-section of the student body, or a specific group (e.g. widening participation students, student representatives, business students, mature students).

Why Frontrunner?

Common Purpose has been running this co-curricular programme for more than ten years, working with over 50 universities around the world.


94% of students on Frontrunner say it is excellent value for time.


In the next year over 4500 students worldwide will take part in Common Purpose programmes.


97% of students would recommend the programme to a friend.

How do we broaden networks?

Our programmes give students valuable exposure to a diverse range of leaders from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Through learning directly from these leaders and having the opportunity to tackle real organisational challenges, students are able to understand, develop and practise the key skills they need to succeed in the future.

Numhom Sudsok, Sheffield Hallam University

“I secured a graduate job with a scientific recruitment firm in London starting in July and my future MD told me that having done the Frontrunner course made my CV stand out and basically secured me the job!”

Olivia Martin, Student, University of Leeds

"It's valuable - I have learnt so much. I've had the opportunity to meet and talk to people that I never would have before and gained vital networks through this. I would recommend this to anyone."

Nicole Kearns, Lancaster University

“It was brilliant. I got a realistic view on what it was like to lead an organisation.”


90% strongly agree that they are better equipped to engage with diversity


87% strongly agree they have increased confidence in their leadership skills


87% strongly agree they feel better able to make new contacts and build networks