Leadership Academy Programme Resources

Leadership Academy Programme

The Leadership Academy Programme – A Career development programme for disabled employees.

The Leadership Academy Programme (LAP) was developed after a group of disabled senior leaders found that, whilst disabled employees were managing to gain employment, their ability to excel up the corporate ladder appeared limited.

We have seen LAP run successfully now for eight years and to date we have a vast array of testimonials from both delegates and mentors, indicating the impact that participating in LAP has had on them, both personally and professionally. We are always interested in forging new partnerships, with organisations who are keen to include a robust leadership programme, for disabled employees, within their D&I Strategy. Read more

LAP aims to:

  1. Address the need for greater equality in the workplace
  2. Improve the employment position of Disabled people, enabling them to fulfil their potential
  3. Provide employers with access to the widest possible pool of talent at management and senior level
  4. Increase the visibility of capable, confident disabled leaders, to contribute to a more balanced view of Disabled people across UK society
  5. Build recognition of the qualities Disabled people contribute in terms of resilience, problem-solving, empathy and creativity
  6. Impact workplace culture and help to bring about genuine inclusivity for disabled employees.
  7. LAP is now delivered online. The benefits of moving the programme online include providing a modular format to encourage sustainable growth for LAP and being able to provide tailored options for employers. Participants can access the programme flexibly, without travel barriers.

Programme Delivery:

The 2023 course comprises 14 sessions (of 2-4 hours) running from February 2023 to September 2023.

LAP has been updated to include content which is reflective of the changing environment we are now faced with and includes a mix of core leadership modules and is recognised by The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM).

Impact Statements from participants:


“What DR UK have created is an incredible platform which allows people to develop new skills and grow, personally and professionally. Taking part in LAP has an incredible impact both for delegates   and those who volunteer as mentors. Giving people the opportunity to learn and grow should always carry great importance and LAP does exactly that. It is well organised, well supported, and clear in its direction and purpose.” Andy Horne 


"I decided to attend the LAP because I always felt that I had quite realised my potential and on reflection realised that being disabled had impacted on my self-belief and behaviours at work for progression.  I have found the content of the course and the trainer interesting and engaging.  It always helps when someone delivering a course is genuinely enthusiastic about their subject matter.

Whilst being on the course, a combination of the learning itself and discussions with other participants have really helped me realise that I’m not unique in my outlook and behaviours and provided me with tools to improve and think about leadership differently, appreciating the behaviours of others and how to utilise this in a team.  Towards the end of the course, I decided to throw my hat into the ring for a new job and a promotion at work.  I’m delighted to say I got the job and will now get to put into practice what I have learnt as I will be managing a small team".

The Programme includes:

  • Career aspirations, setting objectives and goals
  • Communication/leadership/management skills
  • Self-development and confidence-building
  • Applying new techniques to live projects and presentations, related to a current workplace challenge. Providing a great resource for their place of work.
  • One-to-one mentoring from an experienced senior leader
  • Sharing experiences with other aspiring managers and learning from their success strategies
  • Being a member of our Disability Alumni Network, offering exceptional networking events with inspirational keynote speakers

The Programme options:

Option 1

Employers can sponsor an individual employee(s) onto the main cohort. This is a mixed cohort, where our partnering organisation such as The Ministry of Justice, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Care Quality Commission, Devon & Cornwall Police, and many others annually send employees onto the programme. These Delegates return to their place of work, with increased confidence and leadership skills and this ultimately impacts their working practices and culture of the business/organisation, ensuring greater inclusivity for disabled employees.

Option 2

We can design a bespoke programme, tailor-made to meet the needs and aims of the organisation. Employers can place, 10 or more staff, into a private cohort and we’ll help to manage all the administration, mentoring relationships, and programme schedules, affording the delegates the best possible opportunity to succeed and for the greatest impact on the business/organisation.


New - Workplace and Employment Facilitative Mediation

Why offer this service?

After eight years providing our career development programme for disabled employees, one of the recurring themes we’ve heard at the Leadership Academy is that employees often feel anxious about ‘being open’ at work regarding their disability. Employers can experience the same hesitation when trying to initiate these types of discussions. Both parties can be unsure how to have frank conversations without saying the ‘wrong thing’ and causing offence.

The problem we solve

Without open discussion, it can be difficult to agree and organise effective reasonable adjustments. As well as inhibiting employee performance, this failure can lead to friction, frustration, and conflict. If left unresolved, it can fester and escalate, leading to grievance and disciplinary procedures or even employment tribunals.

How we do it

We decided to extend our Leadership Academy remit to include specialised mediation services to address this issue. With our qualified Civil and Commercial Mediator, specialising in Workplace and Employment resolution, at the helm, our goal is to improve communication between employers and disabled employees, prevent or resolve conflict, and provide employees and their employers with tools to build disability-inclusive workplaces.

What’s the benefit to the employer?

We know that a diverse workplace creates an effective business. The experience of disability brings capabilities and perspectives that provide unique approaches to leadership; developing these talents can enable staff to become an even more valuable asset to your organisation.

But the barriers that disabled staff can face can prevent them from realising their full potential at work. Addressing these barriers involves more than just making reasonable adjustments. An inclusive culture of openness in the workplace enables employers to retain and develop existing staff and recruit from a wider talent pool.


Being an inclusive organisation is good for your business. A diverse workforce is an innovative one. Supporting employees leads to higher levels of productivity and staff retention. Most disabled people become disabled during their working lives – so there is a real incentive to understand how to retain and make the most of existing talent.

If you would like further information about LAP, and the services we offer, please visit our website, or contact

Katrina Morris our Project Manager: katrina.morris@disabilityrightsuk.org.