Half a million pounds is on offer to run a new leadership training programme for senior FE managers looking to step up to top jobs.

The Education and Training Foundation put a tender out three days ago, and it’s on the hunt for a provider with “an excellent track record” in executive leadership to develop a project it is calling ‘Preparing for the CEO role in the further education and training sector’.

It’s the latest entry to a suite of new FE leadership training programmes the ETF operates, and will initially run for four months between November 6 and March 10 next year.

The details of the tender, seen by FE Week, state that applicants should “normally be designated second-tier managers” with a minimum of two years in post.

They must also be “ready to step up to the CEO role”, something that needs “a recommendation for the programme by their principal/CEO and chair of the board”.

The ETF aims to deliver training to at least 50 delegates.

“We expect an initial cohort of 25 minimum to complete the programme and a further cohort of 25 minimum to begin the programme before 10 March 2018 and reserve the right to extend the contract for a period of up to and including a third financial year,” it said.

The project spend could end up paying around £10,000 per trainee if the minimum recruitment target is met.

The exact contents are up for negotiation, but it is expected to take the form of two or three-day residential courses “with structured, supported learning activity between”.

Costs for the course will be “partly subsidised” by the ETF, a spokesperson for the foundation told FE Week, but the tender documents reveal that the delegate fee “will be set at £3,000 each with no discount options”.

In March, the foundation announced a leadership programme for existing principals and chief executives, backed by £1.27 million of government cash.

Frank McLoughlin

The project, headed by the ETF’s associate director for leadership, Sir Frank McLoughlin, was designed to boost the capacity of individual principals and chief executives, and got underway in June.

A programme to help chief finance officers become commercial leaders, backed with another £500,000 in funding, was also launched this year.

These are understood to be the first new leadership programmes specifically for the FE and skills sector since the demise of the former Learning and Skills Improvement Service in 2013.

LSIS, which emerged from the former Centre of Excellence for Leadership, ran a number of programmes for FE leaders including a senior leadership and management development programme and a programme for new principals.

The spokesperson told FE Week that the new aspiring principals project is “aimed at helping to build and create a pipeline of senior leaders for the future”, in an area the foundation “has been asked by many in the sector to play a part in”.

Tenders will be evaluated by an ETF panel, which will “judge past performance on the evidence provided of impact both on the individual and the organisation, reputation for excellence in design and delivery of executive training, and the ability to work flexibility with clients to meet their needs”.

While the project is expected to end in March, the ETF said that, subject to the availability of funding, it would “like to include a right to extend any contract for up to a maximum of three further years”.

The closing date for the tender is October 13.

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