Future Leaders Connect - The global network for emerging policy leaders 

Now more than ever, the world needs inspiring policymakers...

With the support of the Northern Ireland Office, we are looking for ten young leaders aged 25-35 from Northern Ireland to take part in Future Leaders Connect - a global 6-week online policy and leadership programme.

As a member you will;  

  • Develop an action plan to bring your policy change forward
  • Join a network of exceptional policy change makers from around the world and discuss today’s biggest global challenges.
  • Learn about leadership styles and approaches, and build the international networks needed to be an influential leader.

Following the programme, you will have worldwide connections, a policy action plan for change and the skills, knowledge and networks needed to be an influential leader in Northern Ireland and beyond. 

All applicants, whether successful or not, will also have the opportunity to take part in free online professional development courses.

To be considered for the programme, you'll need to commit ten hours a week between 11 October and 19 November 2021.

The deadline to apply for this year's programme is Monday, 5 July, 2021.

Find out more below:

Members will benefit from:

Members will benefit from:

  • Exclusive access to policy experts and training
  • The opportunity to learn about leadership styles and access international networks to make a difference through policy-making
  • The chance to discuss your policy ideas with UK Parliamentarians and Government and network with some of the world’s most senior leaders
  • Mentors (mostly representing UK think tanks) who will support you to develop and deliver your policy action plan
  • Hearing from a bigger range of speakers, with greater diversity in the pool of contributors to the programme, due to online delivery
  • Joining an exclusive network of exceptional policy change makers from around the world and discuss today’s biggest global challenges
  • *NEW* for 2021: Coaching sessions with existing Future Leader Connect members to expand your network and support you during and after the programme
  • *NEW* for 2021: Access to the British Council Foreign Policy Forum, a vibrant network (professionals working on the development of foreign policy for think tanks, political parties and parliamentarians) with exclusive access to events, platforms, intelligence and insight from across the British Council global network.

Who can apply?

You must be aged 25-35, live in Northern Ireland and have a policy idea that could make change across Northern Ireland and beyond.

What are we looking for in potential members?

We are looking for exceptional individuals with the ideas, energy and commitment to work collaboratively with all members of the Future Leaders Connect and senior leaders. The programme aims to be representative of the countries in which it operates, and we encourage applications from all sections of society. 

  • You should be able to explain how you want to make change in your country and beyond through policymaking 
  • You should have a good knowledge about policy and how policymaking happens in your country
  • You should be willing to engage with the British Council and the Future Leaders Connect network in the long-term
  • You are likely to be your early to mid-career and already have examples of when you have demonstrated leadership ability
  • You should have strong networks and be committed to supporting the development of the country you are living in through policy change.  

The programme

This year's online programme will run from 11 October to 19 November 2021 and is in partnership with the Møller Institute at Cambridge University.

This year’s online programme will include all the elements of previous years – the taught component, networking, relationship-building and action plan development – delivered digitally. The difficulty of meeting face-to-face at this time has given us an additional real-world challenge that will only inspire our future global leaders. 

The programme will consist of self guided study, team work and live online sessions. Participants will commit to spending an average of 10 hours per week, for six weeks. The launch of the programme will take place on Monday 11 October and following live sessions will be scheduled weekly on a Tuesday and Wednesday at 09.00 – 10.30 UK time.

How will the programme be delivered in 2021?

The programme will be delivered online, allowing you to access the same unique opportunity to further your skills to support you to make a difference through policy-making, through practically scheduled sessions to meet your needs and requirements - without needing to travel. In addition there will be the new opportunity for online connection and interaction with programme alumni  from previous years.  

You'll need to commit ten hours a week between 11 October and 19 November 2021.

Out of these 10 hours, there will be  approximately 3.5 – 4.5 hours of live sessions per week that you would need to commit to and these sessions will happen on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (with exception of the first week and welcome session on a Monday). These sessions will be between 09.00 – 11.00am. The other work/hours can be done as self-study during evenings or weekends.

Programme timeline

The deadline to apply for this year's programme is Monday, 5 July, 2021.

 1. Complete your online application 

It will take you approximately one hour to complete your online application, you cannot save and come back to it later, the whole application must be done at once. Included in the online application are a series of screening questions, so we can confirm you meet the criteria.

2. Scoring your application

Due to the significant volume of applications we expect, we will initially read and score your response to the following question:

Future Leaders Connect seeks to support members in making their vision for policy change a reality and this vision will be at the core of the learning on the programme. In no more than 300 words, please tell us about the global change (your policy vision) you would like to see happen and how you would use policy making to achieve this.

3.  Shortlisting and interview

At this stage we will let you know if you have been shortlisted or not. If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to interview (dates to be shared with those shortlisted). At the interviews you will present your policy vision and explain your leadership experience to a panel of experts. Unfortunately, if you cannot attend the interview/event your application cannot be progressed. There will be some places on the reserves list at this stage.

4. New Future Leaders Connect members convene virtually, across a six week period

You'll need to commit ten hours a week between 11 October and 19 November 2021

 5. Future Leaders Connect members stay involved in the network for the long-term

You will be part of the British Council’s long-term network of emerging policy leaders and continue to be connected to professional development and learning opportunities locally, nationally and internationally. You will regularly report back on the progress of your policy action plan and share your learning from the programme with people in your community and beyond

What does it mean to become a member?

Being a Future Leaders Connect member is a long-term commitment. You will be connected to our work in Northern Ireland and asked to participate in local, national and international opportunities over the following months and years, as part of your ongoing professional development as a policy leader. You will also be connected to existing Future Leaders Connect members from around the world, an impressive network of leaders who are leading change. Almost all Future Leaders Connect members continue to be in regular contact with the network, accessing the exclusive ongoing opportunities and working together. 

We are looking for exceptional individuals with the ideas, energy and commitment to work collaboratively with all members of the Future Leaders Connect and senior leaders. The programme aims to be representative of the countries in which it operates, and we encourage applications from all sections of society.  

I do not have any policy knowledge, can I apply?

The British Council’s Future Leaders Connect programme is aimed at people who already have policy knowledge and experience. Through your online application and the selection process, you will be expected to demonstrate your policy knowledge.

What do we mean by policy and policymaking?

Policy - a set of ideas, plan, course or principle of action which is officially agreed to by a body or an individual.

Policymaking - discussion, debate and influence that leads to the establishment of a policy.

How to apply

Fill in the application here. The deadline to apply is Monday, 5 July 2021.

How are applications reviewed?

All online applications are reviewed by our sifting agency in accordance with the Future Leaders Connect selection criteria. 

See also

External links