Exceptional NED Training Programme

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The Exceptional NED training programme has been uniquely designed to enable experienced business executives to gain the skills and knowledge to become an effective Non-Executive Director (NED) through a blend of workshop sessions and 3 month placement as a NED at a high-growth SME.

This programme is for individuals with experience at executive level who are looking to further develop their skills as a NED and is ideal for those who have not yet undertaken a NED role or who are in the early stages of the transition.

Upcoming programme dates and pricing

Start dates: 

September 2024 

  • Day 1 & 2: Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 September 2024
  • Day 3: Thursday 9 January 2025
  • Webinar: Thursday 17 October 2024

February 2025

  • Day 1 & 2: Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 February 2025
  • Day 3: Thursday 12 June 2025
  • Webinar: Wednesday 19 March 2025

Price: £1500

Register here

To preserve the quality of the programme, numbers will be limited.

Programme summary

This programme covers:

  • What makes an exceptional NED
  • Understanding of legal responsibilities
  • Situational leadership 
  • Financial literacy for NEDs
  • Best practice boards
  • The power of habit change
  • An insight into investment panel decision making processes

In addition, the programme will include a 3 month placement as a NED in a high-growth SME. 

Research shows that Exceptional NEDs need to be independent, have the right balance of challenge and support, be excellent communicators and have a deep understanding of business. Through this programme, aspiring NEDs will have the opportunity to increase their expertise in these softer skills, whilst honing business knowledge and gaining a better understanding of their professional responsibilities. These aspects will be covered in a two day workshop taught by experienced professionals and a range of guest speakers.

Participants will then be allocated a placement within a high-growth SME for three months (to attend three board meetings).

Halfway through this experience, the group will reconvene for an online webinar to discuss how attitudes and mindsets can alter the NED role.

The programme culminates in a one day workshop during which participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the experience so far, as well as learn about the variety of NED roles available. This day will include a session with representatives from an investment firm discussing how investment decisions are made. 

On completion of the programme, participants will be awarded a certificate and the opportunity to apply to join the national NED network. 

Course structure

  • 2 days face-to-face
  • 3 months placement with a high growth SME
  • Interactive webinar
  • 1 day face-to-face 

Who should attend

Experienced business executives; those interested in taking up an NED role either now or in the future.

SMEs seeking placements for NEDs

As part of our Non-Executive Director training (NED) programme, the University of Leeds are looking for SME businesses who are willing to offer a 3-month placement on their board of directors to one of our NED delegates. Find Out More Here.

What our delegates and NED hosts say

It certainly was a great investment of time and money and I can highly recommend for anyone considering a transition into the role of the non-executive director, or indeed those that have already made the move. 

Colin Day, Magnetic North Associates Ltd

I have nothing but praise for our delegate as he was the perfect match for us. We’re always keen to be challenged and hear ideas and he  shared some great thinking and challenges to us in the meetings.  We all enjoyed having him round and learnt a lot. Thank you so much for the opportunity, it was a pleasure to have him work with us

Stephanie Davies of Laughology Limited hosted a NED placement for three months in her business

Case studies

Read our case study about Simon Dixon, founder of Hatmill supply chain and logistics experts, and Adrian Lingard, from North Peak Consulting, who talk about their experience of the programme.

Read our case study about Caroline Wherritt, founder of Re:Work, a SME Social Enterpise supplying repurposed office furniture and the help she received from her NED, Christina Lovelock.


Contact ExecEd@leeds.ac.uk to find out more about the programme.