Health Education England

Mary Seacole Programme


OverviewMary Seacole logo

Designed for those looking to move into their first formal leadership role, or those new to first time leadership, the Mary Seacole programme empowers people to turn their success into consistent team success and to champion compassionate patient care.

This programme is a leadership development programme which is grounded in reality and results in real workplace application. The concept of learning how to be a leader when you are in the thick of your day to day responsibilities can seem rather abstract.

Having offered the programme for a little over two years with over 2,000 participants, we have done some evaluation and have relaunched the programme to make it even more accessible and useful. We have kept the:

  • Practical bias of the programme
  • Personal development
  • Applied leadership

They also told us that the programme was bigger than it needed to be, so we have reduced the length, study time and academic load. It's now six months long with 100 hours of online study. It still results in an NHS Leadership Academy Award in Healthcare Leadership.


Participants feedback

"This course does what it says on the tin; it has already changed the way I think and behave in regards to leadership in the NHS. The first unit has really opened my eyes to the realities of poor leadership, its impact on patient care, and the scale of cultural change needed at every level. The first workshop was intensive and exhausting, but brilliant! Massively insightful, it celebrated the diversity of skills we had to offer and demonstrated areas we perhaps needed to work on"

"I have been thinking about your request for feedback as I write my assignment. I have found the programme itself to be an extremely positive experience, the wealth of information and learning via both the open university site and the workshop has been phenomenal. The programme thus far has been a great opportunity for me to reflect on my behaviours and those of my team and colleagues. I have definitely worked harder to be more inquisitive and develop a more adaptive approach".

Eligibility criteria

The Mary Seacole programme is for first time leaders in healthcare, or those aspiring to their first formal leadership role. The programme is for you if you:

  • Are in a 'formal' position of leadership with responsibilities for people and services
  • Can relate what you learn to your workplace
  • Needs to be based in East of England

If you are not eleigible

I f you are not eligible for The Mary Seacole programme, the NHS Leadership Academy runs a range of alternative programmes for colleagues at every level. If you are aspiring to or are new (less than two years) to a leadership role, we recommend you look at our Edward Jenner programme.

Programme content

The Mary Seacole programme is six months long with 100 hours of online study, plus three face-to-face behavioural workshops delivered locally. It will be offered in two delivery routes:

There are 12 learning modules, four of which are around core management skills; the skills that people in their first leadership role really want to be able to have in order to be able to do their job more effectively. There will be modules on:

  • Recruitment and selection
  • Finance fundamentals
  • HR fundamentals
  • Appraisal and annual review.

The programme ends with a single 2000 word assignment leading to an NHS Leadership Academy Award in Healthcare Leadership. There are no other academic requirements, which means it’s much more accessible to a wider group of people.

The programme has been improved in line with feedback from our participants and now has these new features:

  • More practical management skills training to empower participants in their leadership capability
  • Reduced academic workload to enable participants to fit the programme into daily life
  • Enhanced face-to-face elements which provide even more opportunity for participants to connect with tutors and others on the programme
  • A reduction in cost to make the programme much more accessible to a wider group of first time leaders.


On successful completion you will receive the NHS Leadership Academy award in Healthcare Leadership.


New programme cost is £995.

How to apply

To apply, visit the NHS Leadership Academy website.

Useful links