The Aspiring chief executive programme is a collaboration between NHS Improvement, NHS Providers and the NHS Leadership Academy.

It was created in 2014 to ensure a strong, ongoing, pipeline of candidates for the role of NHS trust chief executive. The programme is designed to prepare those with the potential to become chief executives in the next 12-24 months for these key roles. It is an example of our joint commitment to help support and develop compassionate, inclusive and effective leaders at all levels, as laid out in Developing people, improving care.

The programme has had two cohorts who graduated in 2017. Of the 28 participants so far, nine have gone on to become trust chief executives. Providing the right leadership support for these individuals will be key to ensuring they have the right skills, attitudes and behaviours to build a better NHS.

This publication includes perspectives from a number of participants, who discuss their experience and the impact the programme has had on themselves, colleagues and the system.