Commonwealth Women's Leadership Programme

May 16, 2024

Applications are now open for the 2024-25 Commonwealth Women’s Leadership Programme, which aims to support 15 women from the Commonwealth on their personal development journeys to being strong role models, clarifying their leadership ambitions and recognising their leadership strengths. 

The programme, running from 1 August 2024 to 31 July 2025, is open to all female leaders, currently working in or supporting sport, who have ambitions to hold a National Sport Federation or Commonwealth Games Association leadership role. Support is offered primarily through scholarships and mentoring with successful participants receiving a £5000 scholarship to support them on their development pathway. International mentors will be recruited and deployed to help the participants create professional development plans, undertake reflection, and grow as leaders.  

Applications must be submitted by 15th June 2024 and all applications must include a letter of endorsement from Commonwealth Games Scotland, so get in touch at: if you want to apply or have any questions. The full information booklet and application form are at the bottom of this page. 

Kareena Cuthbert, Team Scotland hockey player at the 2010 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, participated in the programme in 2022 and has shared her experience for anyone considering applying: 

What made you apply for the Commonwealth Women’s Leadership programme? 

It came at a good time for me as I was contemplating a transition in career. I’m a physiotherapist by trade but, having started to get more involved in sport leadership through my ambassadorial role at Scottish Hockey, I wanted to understand a bit more about how that side of sport functioned and was just starting to build my network. Then obviously the financial support – I was needing to work and develop an alternative career path at the same time, so that support was quite significant as well. The opportunity came at the perfect time. 

What were the benefits of going through the programme? 

I would say it was extremely beneficial for me, the process of looking at my short-term and long-term plan and sitting down with a mentor. Breaking down where my weaknesses were, where I needed to develop, where I wanted to go and setting tangible goals is something that I already kind of did mentally. But writing it down and really thinking about ticking things off and working towards the end goal was really effective for me to see clearly the areas I needed to develop. Having a local mentor also made me accountable to actually achieving these things. 

How are you using what you learned? 

Two years on and I now have two board director positions (Scottish Hockey and GB Hockey) and a new job as Head of Performance at Bowls Scotland, so I’ve taken fairly big leaps. 

I would say higher level thinking is what I’ve developed from it, rather than getting stuck in just the here and the now. Working in sport is new to me and I’ve learned to every so often sit back and reflect. ‘Where am I at? Where do I need to go to get what I’m working on to that next level?’ It’s also helped with my confidence, particularly through keeping up that connection with my mentor. It’s always nice to have a personal champion in the background going, ‘yes, go for that, you can do it.’ 

What advice would you give to someone considering applying this year? 

I would absolutely encourage them. The benefits of the mentor, the reflection, the planning and the financial support, there’s four big ticks in boxes there. It’s really not that time consuming. It’s more about the external planning for the goals and targets that you want to meet, rather than having lots of reports or homework to do. Where are you going next? What’s going to get you to the next step or the next hurdle? That’s kind of how it played out for me. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone, whether they are in a transitional period or just wanting to evaluate where they’re at and where they can go. 

Download further information and the application form here

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