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Wales Higher Education Executive Leaders Programme (WHEELP)

When and where?
Tuesday 14 May 2019, Wales More info

The Wales Leaders Programme dates are as follows:

Application Deadline: 18 March 2019

Programme Dates:
Module One: 
Tuesday 14 - Wednesday 15 May 2019, North Wales
Module Two: Tuesday 2 – Thursday 4 July 2019, The Midlands, including visits to exemplar English institutions
Networking Event: Module 3: 2 days TBC Autumn 2019, South Wales

The Wales Leaders Programme is exclusively open to higher education leaders based in Welsh universities or higher education colleges. Participants on the programme will have their place funded by the Welsh Government’s Department for Skills, Higher Education and Lifelong Learning (SHELL). The programme has been developed in partnership with the Higher Education Funding Council, Wales (HEFCW), Universities Wales and the Welsh Universities.23

For more information on the funding and funders, please click here.

Application deadline:
Monday 25 March 2019
£750.00 LF Members Fee
£940.00 LF Non Members Fee
£750.00 LGM Member
£950.00 LGM Non Member
  1. Overview
  2. Programme Benefits
  3. Find out more and apply
  4. Who should apply?
  5. Programme directors and contributors
  6. Programme endorsement
  7. More »

The Wales Higher Education Executive Leaders Programme (WHEELP) aims to develop individuals who aspire to become future leaders working at Executive/Senior Management team level in Wales’ Higher Education providers.

This bespoke programme has been heavily subsidisied by the Welsh Government’s Department for Skills, Higher Education and Lifelong Learning, and is being developed in conjunction with Hefcw, Universities Wales and the Welsh Universities.

WHEELP provides an immersive and joined up inquiry into the leadership response to a rapidly evolving and complex Wales HE environment. Alongside essential insights into the individual experience of leadership, it examines the role of organisational fluidity and agility in meeting the challenges and thriving. It will provide opportunities to share insights, work with a support network of peers, and explore a series of frames and lenses on leadership that will inspire and challenge your thinking beyond the life of the programme. The focus is on experiential learning grounded in the real challenges and work of the participants. 

The programme will allow participants to:

  • Take responsibility for their professional development in order to build commitment to leadership of their University and the wider sector in Wales
  • Work collectively to reflect on and challenge their own leadership and that of others
  • Build organisational structures and cultures in which leadership is distributed, fluid and empowered
  • Gain experience of taking risks in a safe learning environment, so at to act confidently in complex, ambiguous academic leadership contexts
  • Nurture and sustain collaborative relationships to support and develop their roles
  • Prepare for the most challenging leadership roles in the Welsh sector

All applicants will need the support of an institution sponsor, this could be the applicants line manager or a member of the senior leadership team within their institution. Applicants will need to submit a participant application form and and a sponsor application form by 18 March 2019.

Application documents:

The Wales Higher Education Executive Leaders Programme (WHEELP) aims to develop individuals who aspire to become future leaders working at Executive/Senior Management team level in Wales’ Higher Education providers.

By attending the programme participants will:

  • Have access to a community of peers to continue collaboration with beyond the programme
  • Network with senior figures within the HE sector in Wales, including from within their own Institution, other Institutions, Hefcw, Welsh Government and participants on the Future Wales
  • Develop a considered and integrated approach to their leadership development, both on the programme and in the self reflection required for the LF Fellowship scheme
  • Develop an understanding of a range of leadership models and tools to support their development as a senior leader, and in their existing role
  • Opportunity to shadow and be mentored by a senior member of their Institution and observe Senior Management team meetings
  • Have access to an action learning set of peers from the programme
  • Take part in a 360-degree diagnostic, which is tailored specifically to those who are working within the higher education institutions and colleges
  • Access to 1:1 coaching sessions with a trained and experienced executive coach

Themes covered on the programme will include:

  • Understanding your own leadership approach (360 feedback)
  • Authentic leadership as a response to complexity
  • Personal and organisational resilience
  • Creating the conditions for collaboration and shared learning within institutions
  • Insights into the psychology of change in organisations
  • Leading in the external environment and engaging stakeholders
  • Unbundling the ‘organisation’
  • Politics and power in HE (in Wales)
  • Strategic Finance & commercial awareness


Application Deadline: 18 March 2019

If you would like to apply for a place to attend the Wales Higher Education Executive Leaders Programme, you will need to download the application form and programme sponsor form:

All application should be made to the Leadership Foundation by the application deadline of 18 March 2019. Completed application will be submitted to the selection committee. All applicants will be notified in writing, by 3 April 2019 on the status of their application.

To discuss whether Wales Higher Education Executive Leaders Programme is right for you, please contact Thahmina Begum, Executive - Programmes and Events, email or call +44 (0) 3332 001 101.

Programme fees

The programme fee covers all the following costs:

  • Workshops and coaching sessions
  • Materials, including the higher education specific 360-degree diagnostic
  • External speakers and contributors
  • All meals linked to residential sessions
  • Accommodation as part of the programme
  • The LF Fellowship Process



The Wales Higher Education Executive Leaders Programme will support the development of your knowledge, experience and skills to enable you to move into a strategic leadership position.

You will be aspiring to a position within an executive leadership team, and this will be your next professional step. You will be a academic or professional services staff member who holds a significant leadership position within your institution; this could be as a head of department, dean, director (both associate and assistant where applicable), research leader or registrar.

All applicants will need the support of an institution sponsor, this could be the applicants line manager or a member of the senior leadership team within their institution. Applicants will need to submit a participant application form and and a sponsor application form by 18 March 2019.

To discuss whether Wales Higher Education Executive Leaders Programme is right for you, please contact Thahmina Begum, Executive - Programmes and Events, email or call +44 (0) 3332 001 101.

The Wales Higher Education Executive Leaders Programme is led by Gary Reed and will be supported by a selection of speakers who will contribute to the programme and share their knowledge, experience and advice to support the key themes explored during each module.

Wales Leaders Programme - Delivery Team

Gary Reed

Gary Reed

Assistant Director, Membership (Wales)

Gary is a qualified executive coach and a leadership development facilitator.  In his role with Advance HE as Head of Membership (Wales) and Senior Advisor, Gary works closely with all the higher education institutions in Wales supporting leadership and governance; equality, diversity & inclusion; and learning and teaching development to compliment individual institutions’ strategies and the higher education agenda in Wales. Gary also works closely with Welsh Government, HEFCW and organisations such as Universities Wales to ensure the Advance HE supports the higher education agenda in Wales. 
Gary has 10 years experience in a senior management role as Director of Research & Enterprise at Aberystwyth University and was a management academic and researcher at Loughborough University for 10 years. Gary has successfully led three multidisciplinary, multi-million pound, cross-institutional research & enterprise programmes, and led the successful merger of a research and an enterprise office with a combined team of 45 staff. He was the REF2014 manager at Aberystwyth University, and was appointed to the REF2021 Equality a Diversity Advisory panel in May 2017. 
Gary is passionate about leadership development, especially researcher development. Gary is programme director and facilitator for the Advance HE Strategic Leadership Programme and the Welsh Government funded Wales Higher Education Executive Leaders programme. Gary was instrumental in the development and delivery of the Welsh Crucible future research leaders programme and led and delivered the Welsh Government’s COFUND Research Fellowship development launch programme. Gary is also a member of the REF2021 Equality a Diversity Advisory panel.
Prior to higher education, Gary worked in the telecommunications industry and is a qualified secondary school teacher and an experienced further education college lecturer.


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Lisa Sofianos

Lisa Sofianos

Advance HE Associate

Lisa is a business author, creative thinker and international consultant in leadership and organisational development. She was a founder of, and has been a director at Robin Ryde Consulting Ltd since 2008, and has worked with clients in both the private and public sectors in the UK, and across the rest of the world.

She works with businesses to raise levels of employee engagement and increase organisational agility and innovation in response to the rapid change and volatility that characterises the modern business environment. She is also a presenter and coach for the Clore Social Leadership Fellowship (a prestigious development programme for leaders working to make a positive impact in society) and a trainer with the Civil Service College.

Her book, ‘Creating Authentic Organisations: Bringing Meaning and Engagement Back to Work’, which she co-authored with Robin Ryde, was published in October 2014 by Kogan Page. The book makes the compelling argument for the positive impact of individual authenticity on businesses and sets out the management task of creating the conditions to allow employees to fulfil their roles with greater authenticity. Lisa was also the main researcher for ‘Never Mind the Bosses; Hastening the Death of Deference for Business Success’, authored by Robin Ryde, which was published by Wiley in 2012.

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Huw Morris, Director of SHELL said: "Universities in Wales have excellent leaders at all levels. As we prepare for the future challenges posed by BREXIT, increased investment in research and innovation, shifting patterns of international student recruitment, the Teaching Excellence Framework and growing interest in graduate apprenticeships, we need to ensure our current leaders are supported and new leaders are able to find ready access to development opportunities like the new LFHE programme. It is great to see this new and innovative programme being launched in Wales"

Dr David Blaney, Chief Executive of HEFCW, said: “We are pleased to be able to back this programme, which will strengthen the professional development of prospective leaders in higher education to help inspire future generations of students, academics and managers.”

Universities Wales Director, Amanda Wilkinson, said “We welcome the Leadership Foundation’s work with us, HEFCW and the Welsh Government to develop a new generation of university leaders. Our universities not only teach our students but are key economic and social anchors in many of Wales’ regions - often one of the largest employers.  It is therefore extremely important that we continue to develop the pipeline of top leaders for these roles to ensure our universities continue to benefit Wales.”

Gary Reed, Pennaeth Aelodaeth (Cymru) / Head of Membership (Wales) Advance HE and Programme Director of WHEELP said: “The Leadership Foundation is proud to be working with the Welsh Universities and stakeholders on this important programme. All Welsh Universities are members of the Leadership Foundations and we are keen to ensure that leadership, governor and management development in Wales is tailored to the needs of this devolved nation’s Universities.”

You can read the full press release on the launch here.

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Sorry, the application deadline for this programme has passed. Please contact Thahmina Begum, Executive - Programmes and Events, the event administrator T: +44 (0) 3332 001 101 E:, who will be happy to help you.

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    • participation in our development networks


  • How to join

    • Membership is open to all higher education providers and related sector organisations on an annual or three-yearly subscription basis.
    • We have 154 members with around a third taking advantage of the 10% discount offered by three-year subscriptions.


  • Membership benefits

    • Research and innovation: Access to our latest, highly-valued research, Leadership Insights, Getting to Grips series and practical development project resources.
    • More…

    • Management Development Resources: Flexible workshop materials on key leadership and management development topics, for you to deliver in-house to suit your own contexts NEW: ‘Caught in the Middle’. 
    • More…

    • The Knowledge Bank: Save time with these extensive multi-media training resources for HR, staff development and OD professionals, covering key leadership and management theory and practice.
    • More…

  • Get in touch

    Meet the membership team, your national and regional contacts in the UK and Ireland, and LF networks.

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Advance HE
Leadership, Governance and Management

Peer House, 8-14 Verulam Street
London WC1X 8LZ

T: 020 3468 4810     F: 020 3468 4811

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