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Emerging Leader Programme

Do you want to build your leadership potential, strengthen your networks and help drive social, environmental, and organisational change?

Developed in partnership with Clore Social Leadership, the Institute’s Emerging Leader Programme offers a fantastic opportunity for those who work and volunteer with trees to develop the skills necessary to ensure our trees, forests and woodlands are managed to effectively deliver against multiple objectives, including planting targets, climate change mitigation and the biodiversity crisis.

We’re delighted that we’ll be running the programme for a second cohort of arboriculture and forestry professionals this year –
will you be one of our next Emerging Leaders?

Find out more on how to apply below.

"My advice to anyone considering this opportunity is to apply. This course offers so much more than other leadership programmes – it helps you understand and look after yourself both in and out of work."
Michael Cresswell FICFor
Emerging Leader Programme (2023)
"The Institute's Emerging Leader Programme, developed in partnership with Clore Social Leadership, has proven invaluable. It's been an absolute pleasure connecting with multiple peers from across arboriculture and forestry."
Catherine Nuttgens
Emerging Leader Programme (2023)

 Course Features 

  • £150
  • 6-month programme 
  • Online community and multiple methods of delivery
  • 20–24 days commitment
  • Self-paced learning 
  • Clore Social Leadership Fellowship upon successful completion 
  • ‘Fireside Chats’ with leaders from the environmental and third-sectors 
  • £1,000 travel and training bursary to cover travel and future development needs identified by the programme 
  • 1-year membership with the Institute of Chartered Foresters 
  • Mentorship from a member of the ICF 
  • Free access to the new UKFS online training series (2024) 

 Eligibility criteria 

Passionate about change
Your interest in using leadership skills and knowledge to drive change and make the world a better place is paramount. 

Keen to develop
Your determination to develop yourself so you can effectively lead social and organisational change is a highly important criteria for your application. 

Louise Simpson, Executive Director of the Institute, commented:

“We’re delighted to once again be running our widely acclaimed Emerging Leader Programme. Our future forestry leaders will undertake a comprehensive programme of activities that will ensure they are equipped to deal with the challenges of woodland planting targets, climate change mitigation, the biodiversity crisis and more.

“Similar to the first cohort, this year’s Programme will deliver a skilled and strongly interconnected cohort of tree professionals with strong leadership skills to drive the sector forward and navigate future challenges.

“I strongly encourage people from all areas of our sector to apply.”

"The programme provided me with the knowledge, mindset, and tools to build effective partnerships to influence change in the areas in which I work. A vital part of this programme was the mentoring from an Institute member – I struck gold by being partnered with Ben Gunneberg FICFor."
Pherenice Worsey-Buck MICFor
Emerging Leader Programme (2023)
"As a result of undertaking the programme, I had an awakening that has really sparked my interest in the key resourcing issues our sector faces, and I am motivated to drive these challenges forward. I have become more confident and more assertive in my role and learnt various skills I can use day-to-day."
Jude Alexander
Emerging Leader Programme (2023)


You will be guided to develop inspirational, empowering, courageous, focused, passionate and generous leadership capabilities – qualities essential to any effective leader. You will learn how and what these skills and behaviours look like in action, where your strengths and areas of improvement lie, and how you can develop and encourage them in yourselves and others. 

Receive peer-to-peer support
Gain access to a peer group of emerging leaders who will support and challenge you to reach your full potential. 

Develop solutions to real-world issues
Take on challenges you are currently facing in your organisation. 

Become a Clore Social Fellow
Join the Clore Social Leadership Fellowship upon successful completion of the programme. 

Join an online community of changemakers
Become a member of our online community to connect and collaborate with changemakers across the social sector and beyond. 

Build relevant and effective leadership skills
Develop the leadership capabilities required to tackle the ongoing challenges of managing trees, forests and woodlands to deliver against multiple outcomes. 

Learn to lead with confidence
Boost your confidence in your leadership abilities and learn to confidently navigate complexity, uncertainty, and change. 

Increase efficiency, self-awareness and team performance
Become more effective in your leadership role, learning how to enable high-performance within your teams. Develop further as an Emerging Leader Programme Alumni through a range of post-programme events.


Programme residentials allow participants to connect, reflect and develop action plans for their own personal leadership goals, with activities including ‘walk and talks’, focused group sessions, Lumina Spark psychometric profiling, and fireside chats with guest speakers. 

"The residential was very different from the technically focused training I am used to. The focus on personal qualities and leadership skills required me to reflect on aspects of myself that I do not normally pay attention to."
Claire Wightman MICFor
Emerging Leader Programme (2023)

Read more from our previous Emerging Leaders

Read Jude Alexander’s overview of the first Emerging Leader Programme. 

Learn more about ‘The Power of Mentoring’ from Pherenice Worsey-Buck MICFor and
Ben Gunneberg FICFor.

Find out how Elaine Harrison MICFor used her Emerging Leader Programme bursary to develop a ‘Stronger Voice for the Sector’.


The submission deadline for applications to the Emerging Leader Programme 2024 is 3 July 2024. The programme will begin in the week commencing 9 September 2024.

We expect places for the programme to fill quickly and would recommend applying early in order to increase your chances of getting on the course. Competition for places will be strong – your application needs to outline exactly why you’d be suited to the programme and there will be an interview process to determine the final cohort.

The Emerging Leader Programme benefits from as diverse a cohort as is achievable – we strongly encourage applicants from all backgrounds to apply for this opportunity. By collaborating, supporting and challenging one another, leaders can have a significant collective impact across the sector.  


Join us on Thursday 13 June at 13:00 for a free webinar that will provide more information about this fantastic opportunity, with in-depth details on the Emerging Leader Programme.

The session will feature a number of contributors, including Louise Simpson, Executive Director of the Institute; Angharad Irvine, Director of Leadership Programmes at Clore Social Leadership; Michelle Hayman, Project Coordinator at the Institute, and Emerging Leaders from the first cohort.

If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Michelle Hayman.

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