Health Education England

Mary Seacole Programme


OverviewMary Seacole logo

The Mary Seacole programme is a six month leadership development programme which was designed by the NHS Leadership Academy in partnership with global experts, Korn Ferry Hay Group, to develop knowledge and skills in leadership and management.

The concept of learning how to be a leader when you’re in the thick of your day to day responsibilities can seem rather abstract, but The Mary Seacole programme is grounded in reality and results in real workplace application.

It aims to provide the balance between learning the theory and putting it into practice. The Mary Seacole programme is for first time leaders in health and care. It’s for you if you are in a ‘leadership role with responsibilities for people and services, and able to relate what you learn to your workplace.

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 health and care. 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 eligible

If 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. The programme can be undertaken in one of two ways:

- Nationally with multiple intakes a year

- Through a locally-tailored programme provided by your individual healthcare organisation and consortia

The Academy has also developed a locally-tailored programme, which is currently being explored by some early adopters.

Learning is accessed through:

- The Academy’s virtual campus, which includes programme films, interactive content, discussion forums and online resources

- Three one day face to face skills workshops working with expert facilitators delivered around the country

The programme is delivered in 12 units, each taking between five and ten hours of online study time:

- Units 1-8 covers leadership fundamentals and build on each other as the programme progresses

- Units 9-12 are flexible and can be taken at any point in the programme. These relate to the core management skills of:

– Fundamentals of Finance

– Recruitment and selection

– Fundamentals of HR

– Appraisals and annual review


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


Full programme cost £1,700
NHS subsidised fee £995

How to apply

To apply, visit the NHS Leadership Academy website.

Useful links