Frequently Asked Questions About the Fellowship

Got a Question About the Award Winning Leaders Plus Fellowship?

Below you’ll find a number of Frequently Asked Questions about the Leaders Plus Fellowship.

If you can’t find the answer to your question below please feel free to email the Leaders Plus team who will be very happy to help.

Fellowship FAQs

What is the time commitment?

The Fellowship is roughly a 3-4 hour commitment per month over a 9 month period. There is also pre-work to complete in advance of each session which is roughly 1-1.5 hours.

If you’d like to find out more or ask a quick question then please get in touch.

Is the Fellowship open to primary parents?

Yes! Parents of Primary school-aged children may apply for the Fellowship.

Originally the Fellowship was for parents with babies and children under 3, but we had significant interest from parents of Primary aged children and in 2019 we ran a pilot for Primary parents. It was a huge success and we had excellent feedback.

We have now extended our offering to parents of babies and young children we have had a number of Fellows with Primary children complete the Programme in the last 12 months.

We try to group you together with other parents who have similarly aged kids when you join the Fellowship as this can be beneficial.


Can you tell me more about the hardship fund places?

In the past few years, we are proud to have been able to offer 10% of spaces on the Fellowship as hardship fund spaces, these are available at a highly subsidised cost of £500 + VAT per person. 

These places are reserved for individuals who both fulfil the criteria for the Fellowship and are in very challenging financial circumstances, e.g. victims of maternity discrimination who are single parents and currently unemployed or similar. If you want to apply to a hardship fund space, please indicate this on the application form and explain your situation in the first text box question on motivation.

If even £500 is prohibitive, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss it with us as we may be able to help. Looking at the number of applications we have received so far, we think it IS likely that we will be able to subsidise limited hardship fund spaces again for the 2023 cohort.

Can I have more information about the part-funded Royal College of Emergency Medicine Places?

[Spring 2022 Cohort] Due to their commitment to address the Gender Pay Gap, the Royal College for Emergency Medicine are generously part-sponsoring 6 spaces on the Spring 2022 Leaders Plus Fellowship with £1850 plus VAT each which brings the cost down to £1149 plus VAT per Fellow.

Find out more about the part-funded places here.

We will share more information about part-funded places on the 2023 cohort as we have it. 

What are the dates of the next cohort?

The next cohort will begin in March 2023 and the Programme will run until December 2023. Register interest here.

Who can join the Fellowship Programme?

The Fellowship is for managers and leaders with significant childcare responsibilities for babies all the way through to Primary school aged children.

We welcome applications from parents who are on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave and we are open to both mothers and fathers. You can also apply to the Fellowship whilst you are pregnant.

About half of our Fellows are pregnant, on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave. The remaining half have recently returned or have returned in the last 10 years.

We actively encourage individuals from groups that are underrepresented in leadership roles to apply. This includes for example individuals with a BAME or LGBTQI+ background.

Our previous Fellows have come from a range of employers such as the BBC, NHS, HSBC, Action Tutoring and the Salvation Army.

Do you have to be based in the UK to join the Fellowship?

No, absolutely not! Many of the Fellowship Programme facilitators have an international background and our Founder, Verena Hefti, is passionate about growing a global community.

It is likely that the majority of the applicants will be UK-based but we welcome applications from all over the world and have streams within the online Programme for international Fellows. 

How is the Online Programme different from the Blended Learning Programme?

In Spring 2020 we moved the programme online in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and we are delighted that this has worked remarkably well for our Fellows and their families.

We use video conferencing software that allows you to speak to others in small groups. Our incisive questioning allows you to get to deep conversations quickly.

Every session has a reference to a theoretical framework and/or the latest research about career progression, and they are delivered in a structured format that is easy to follow.

In 2022 we have decided to offer the choice of an Online Only Programme OR a Blended Learning Programme.

The Online Programme will offer all virtual sessions which are accessed via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

The Blended Learning Programme offers a mix of virtual sessions and some face-to-face sessions which will take place in either London or Birmingham.

The content of the Programme remains the same for both the Online and Blended Learning Fellows.

What is the investment?

New for 2022, we now offer two options for joining the Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme.

Option 1 which is an online only Programme and includes an option for UK-based and International Fellows, depending on where you are in the world.

Option 2 which is a blended learning Programme and features 3 longer face-to-face workshops in London/possibly Birmingham between 10.30am and 2.30pm combined with virtual workshops.

The content is exactly the same for both groups but the higher price for the blended learning Programme reflects the additional costs involved due to venue hire.

Find full details of the investment below, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us.


(Virtual Sessions Only)
Standard Rate: £2999 plus VAT (reducing to £2899 if 3 Fellows or more are successful from one organisation)
Charity Rate: £2590 plus VAT for charity employees
Self Funder Rate: £1990 plus VAT for self funders


(Mix of Virtual Sessions & Face-to-Face)
Standard Rate: £3550 plus VAT
Charity Rate: £2990 plus VAT for charity employees
Self Funder Rate: £2190 plus VAT for self funders

We’re always willing to help

Payment plans are available on request for individuals in challenging circumstances.

For information on the Institute of Physics Carers’ Fund click here.

Find Out More About our Hardship Fund and Part-Funded Places

We have a small number of hardship fund places available for £500 + VAT or less if cost is a barrier. Please feel free to contact us to discuss this. Find out more about hardship fund places and who is eligible here.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine are generously part-funding 6 places on the Fellowship in 2022. Find out more about accessing those places here. 

If you are a potential applicant, you may find this blog post by current Fellows helpful who share how they got funding from their employers.

How long is the Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme?

The Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme runs for a total of 9 months for both the blended learning and online versions of the Programme. 


When are the events? What is the commitment out of work?

Most of the events are 2 hours long with a break in between, so you have usually never more than 1 hour in front of your computer.

You have on average 1-2 units to complete per month, making it manageable alongside work or childcare. Find out more about the Fellowship Programme, including an overview of what’s included here. 

How much pre-work is there?

It varies, but it is usually around 1 hour per session. Find out more including the overview of the Fellowship Programme structure here. 

How senior do you need to be to join the Fellowship?

It really depends, but it is likely that you already have a role with significant responsibility.

If you are unsure whether you are senior enough, then do get in touch to discuss in more detail.

If in doubt, do apply as research tells us that women tend to apply for opportunities if they fulfil 60% of the criteria while many men may apply if they fulfil 100% of the criteria!

How many Fellows and alumni are there?

At present, there are over 200 Fellows, plus the forthcoming Spring 2022 cohort. Find out more about some of our previous Fellows here.

Is it better to do the Fellowship during maternity leave/shared parental leave or afterward?

It is a very personal choice.

Some Fellows who did the Fellowship during their leave said they valued being able to have non-baby related conversations during their leave, and that the peer group supported their return to work.

Plus they were able to use the learning from the Fellowship to shape their work pattern from the start upon their return, which can be easier than changing your arrangements 2 years after you returned from leave. But, you may also want to focus on just your baby during your parental leave, and that is ok too.

How do you select the Fellowship Mentors?

We headhunt them carefully.

We look for people who share our passion for supporting leaders with young children to progress their careers and who care deeply about gender equality.

Our Mentors are senior leaders who have experience bringing up young children alongside a fulfilling leadership career. Some are previous Fellows who have risen into senior roles.

How soon after birth can you join the Fellowship Programme?

You can join whenever, and we have had Fellows who have given birth during the Programme or afterwards.

For most people, 3 months after birth/adoption is the earliest they will consider joining the Fellowship, although every year we do have some Fellows who have joined the programme.

How do you match Fellows and Mentors?

We ask both Fellows and Mentors at the application stage about their mentor preference and preferred ways of working.

For example, when a Fellow says they could benefit from someone who is a good listener and asks them lots of questions, we seek to match with a mentor who has these particular skills.

During the matching event, you both have a deep conversation and see whether you think you are a good fit. If yes, great, if not, we will match you with someone else.

We usually try to match people across sectors and industries, we have received feedback that these cross-sector relationships are incredibly powerful, as they help challenge existing assumptions you may have

Find out more about the Fellowship here.

Who are the facilitators?

The facilitators are experienced trainers and coaches who have been selected because they are excellent at creating space to think. Find out more about our people here.

How many people are in each of the groups?

80% of the sessions have a maximum of 16 people in the group. This gives you a chance to get to know your fellow peers really well, forming a close bond whilst also growing your networks.


Is there a certificate at the end of the Programme?

Yes! You graduate from the Leaders Plus Fellowship with a certificate of completion award and a digital Fellowship badge you can display on your LinkedIn profile and email signature (if you’d like to.) 

What if I have a baby with me and he/she cries during the sessions?

Our sessions are professional events and are very well structured, but they are also designed knowing that our Fellows have children, and we always have Fellows who bring their babies along to sessions so they are very welcome. Gurgling, crying, giggling is absolutely allowed!


How is the Programme delivered?

The Fellowship Programme can be delivered either fully online or via a blended learning option which includes some face-to-face events. You are able to choose which you prefer when you apply.

When delivering sessions virtually we use video conferencing software that allows you to speak to others in small groups.

Our incisive questioning allows you to get to deep conversations quickly.

Every session has a reference to a theoretical framework and/or the latest research about career progression, and they are delivered in a structured format that is easy to follow. Find out more about the structure of the Fellowship here. 

Is there an alumni community?

Yes, there is. You will continue to have access to the contact details and there are bi-annual virtual events for alumni, as well as an online community. Many of our alumni continue to be heavily involved in our work, for example as speakers, advisors and so on. Find out more about some of our previous Fellows here. 

What is the benefit to my employer?

There are a number of huge benefits to employers when employees participate in the Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme.

Download our Overview for Employers Powerpoint here. The following blog gives useful advice on asking your employer to fund your place on the Programme. View the blog here.

Register Interest In the Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme