Learning for Leadership

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The learning for leadership programme is a personal development programme for adults with a learning disability.

This programme will help participants to acquire a greater understanding of themselves, will help them define and use their potential and develop skills to make change happen for themselves and others.  The whole programme is based on the social model of disability and has a strong value base of inclusion, equality and social justice.

Hanifa's story

"I did a shadowing project for the Learning for Leadership programme. I spent a day with the learning disability lead for the local council. We did some workshops at a primary school in Tooting in South London. 

"I thought the person I shadowed was a pretty good leader – she listened to the children, spoke clearly and was very organised. Since being on the course I have made presentations to lots of groups about my work and about the Learning for Leadership course."

Many people with learning disabilities hold leadership roles or asked to represent other people with learning disabilities on decision making groups. Leadership skills are very important in the development of our capacity and understanding of what is needed in order for us to have the desired impact.  This is also true for people with learning disabilities who are often asked to take on leadership roles.

The aim of the Learning for Leadership Programme is to offer, through coaching and mentoring, information that supports participants understanding of why things are the way they are at the moment for disabled people. As well as an understanding of representation, history of the disability movement, the social model of disability, the programme also offers some skills building around presentation skills, assertiveness and involves shadowing a leader.  Participants are expected to develop a demonstration project in order to complete the course.

We have run several of these programmes for local authorities and providers as well as commissioned by consortia to run a joint programme.

The workshops cover:

  • inclusion and the history of disability
  • the barriers to inclusion and getting the life we want
  • citizenship
  • person-centred lives and how to get the right support
  • making change happen locally, nationally
  • how does government work
  • what is leadership and what type of leader I am
  • having a strong and fair to everyone voice.
  • advocacy and self advocacy
  • shadowing a known leader.

Learning for Leadership at Transition

We have also run the Learning for Leadership at Transition programme in colleges in London for the past two years. This is a progression of Learning for Leadership, a project which aims to improve confidence and leadership skills in people with learning disabilities of all ages and backgrounds.

In Learning for Leadership at Transition, we work specifically with groups of young people, their families and teachers, over a course of eight day-long workshops. The sessions are intended to give young people the skills and knowledge needed to shape their own lives, once they have left school or college. 

This is achieved by focusing on the following themes, as described in our agenda and guidance notes:

  • Why "leadership"? 
  • Having a good life.
  • Person-centred planning.
  • Speaking up for myself.
  • Looking after my health. 
  • Into work.
  • Making my action plan.

The workshops are very interactive, using role-play, outside speakers and DVD clips as well as exercises using lots of visual aids to make the sessions meaningful.