Human Resources

The Springboard Programme

In 2016, the University Executive Board (UEB) approved the development of a personal and professional development programme for women which would complement the Aurora Programme and help prepare women, where appropriate, to apply for future Aurora Programmes.

The Springboard Programme is a three month personal and work development programme for women (it is not a management development programme).  It will be delivered by Sarah Robins-Hobden, a licensed Springboard trainer.

Benefits for the women who take part

Each individual has her own reasons and agenda for the three months, and these vary enormously. However, their objectives usually cluster under four main headings:

  • confidence
  • assertiveness and improved work and personal relationships
  • a sense of direction - what next?
  • taking greater control over their lives.

 Feedback from previous programmes shows that participants:

  • are more confident and assertive
  • have a greater sense of direction
  • have stopped procrastinating
  • balance their lives better
  • set themselves more challenging goals
  • make better use of contacts to gain information and increase their visibility.

The programme comprises:

  1. a personal 300 page Workbook which participants work through in their own time. This takes on average three hours a week. The Workbook is totally confidential and is never monitored.
  2. four one-day Workshops with four weeks between each. Workshops build on and support the work done with the Workbook. Participants work in small groups and are encouraged to support each other as peer-mentors in between Workshops. Attendance at all four Workshops is essential.

Subjects covered include:

  • assessing themselves, the organisation and world around them
  • establishing core values
  • setting goals and objectives
  • setting and implementing action plans
  • finding support, getting information
  • assertiveness, stress management
  • putting yourself across positively.

The programme covers personal as well as work issues because the work person is developed by developing the whole person. It ensures that development is integrated because so many personal issues have a strong impact on work performance.

Selection of participant responses: ‘Overall how would you say your department has gained from your participation in Springboard?’

“Coming up with more ideas and being part of a wider university network has helped me to increase the knowledge within the faculty and move things forward in areas that usually get forgotten about.”

“I have more confidence and belief in my own skills and this enables me to work with greater autonomy. The University has invested in me and I feel that I am repaying this investment by applying all my skills and knowledge learnt to do the very best that I can.”

“The University got financially nearly 1 million Euros (because I became more confident). I also have a mentoring role and pass over the knowledge gained at Springboard.”

Why women-only?

Women and men learn differently and the Springboard programme provides the participants with the most conducive learning environment. The process, content, examples and case studies are all geared specifically to women’s issues. This speeds the process up and ensures the most effective use of time and energy.

Navigator is the equivalent programme for men. Navigator provides process, content and examples and case studies geared specifically to men’s issues, ensuring a faster learning process and the most effective use of time and energy.  The University is assessing the demand for running this programme.

Are you ready for Springboard?

The women who will get most out of the programme are:

  • self-nominating. It is essential that it is the individual woman’s decision to participate; as she will be looking at personal issues and giving 3 hours of her own time each week. Commitment and self-motivation are essential
  • open-minded and prepared to try out new things
  • those who feel ready for it. The programme works best with women who have life experiences to draw on, and are keen to re-assess and plan the next steps
  • supportive of others
  • keen to develop to their fullest potential

Other than these criteria, Springboard is suitable for women disabled and non-disabled at all ages and stages of their lives, all backgrounds, races, aspirations and personal circumstances.

Women looking for specific careers advice will be encouraged to find a source of advice within their own organisation.  Sometimes more senior women will wish to attend the programme and they should be aware that it contains only personal development not management or leadership development.

Application process for the University’s Springboard Programme 2017/2018

If you are interested in joining the programme, or have any queries about it, please contact Lisa White, Learning and Development, Human Resources, by email at Your email should include:

  • what you wish to get from attending the programme
  • confirmation that you are committed and able to attend all four sessions
  • evidence of your line manager’s support.

Usually we would not expect staff to attend both Springboard and Aurora programmes in the same year.  Please discuss with your Line Manager.

Places will be allocated to the programme on a first come, first served basis.  Where there are more expressions of interest than places, a waiting list will be created and individuals will be contacted once future programmes have been scheduled.