Working with the Academy Ambassadors Programme


I would encourage commercial executives to join and contribute to the academy programme to make a true difference to the community and challenge yourself to operate in unique circumstances."

Harendra Madugalle, Head of Business Information, HSBC

How the Academy Ambassadors Programme works with leading employers

The Academy Ambassadors Programme matches talented leaders from business to board roles at Academy Trusts. Employers can participate by encouraging their staff to join the programme - knowing that they are investing in leadership development for their staff and improving the life chances of the next generation.

Adapting to fit your organisation 

Our programme can be adapted to fit your needs. The Academy Ambassadors Programme team can either provide significant control to the employer over which employees volunteer or offer a more open programme. Many organisations use the Academy Ambassadors Programme in a very light touch way – introducing us to a number of their senior leaders, from which point the Academy Ambassadors Programme team works with them one-to-one to brief them and make introductions to trusts. Other organisations want a group of leaders to be placed with trusts as part of a leadership development programme.

For example, some employers choose to work with the Academy Ambassadors Programme as part of diversity, female leadership, retiring partners or top talent programmes. The programme usually involves communications to employees at an appropriate level: business breakfast events with senior leaders and occasional Ministerial events.

Employers receive feedback on responses, appointments and impact. The key competencies developed are in the areas of: strategic leadership; accountability; people; structures; compliance and evaluation.

A range of roles for different levels of experience

Multi-academy trusts can have anywhere from 2 to 60+ academies and budgets ranging from £20m for a small trust to £100m + for the largest. That range provides scaled opportunities for staff at varying stages of their career.

Board roles are available for senior leaders seeking their first board-level experience through to those already holding a commercial non-executive director portfolio. The non-executive director role offers opportunities for accountants, lawyers, marketing professionals, HR directors, change managers and a range of other professionals.

The Impact

Non-executive directors have significant influence and impact - their authority is backed by the devolved funding, accountability and control inherent within the academies organisational structure. Academy trusts also have a clarity of purpose that gives the non-executive director role focus because academies are ‘pure play’ organisations established to raise educational standards and performance. 

Next steps

If your organisation is interested in getting involved, the Academy Ambassadors Programme can provide;

  • board presentations or business breakfast events to explain the opportunity to senior managers and partners;
  • a range of senior speakers for conferences and meetings – including outstanding business leaders and chairs of large multi-academy trusts, founders of academy chains, board members and Regional Schools Commissioners from the Department for Education;
  • one-to-one meetings support for interested candidates to find appropriate opportunities and guide them through the matching process;
  • networking opportunities for staff with regular events at leading education and business institutions; and
  • support for staff in their non-executive role with online induction materials, sharing of best-practice and leadership thinking and introductions to peer mentors.

If you would like to know more please contact NSN's Head of Partnerships Sam Fitzpatrick or the London office on 020 7537 9208.

See our guidelines for corporate partners for more information PDF icon Guidelines for corporate partners.pdf