Pathway to Success

UK Black, Asian and minority ethnic leadership programme

Pathway to success participants

© UK Parliament/Roger Harris

A groundbreaking initiative to equip British Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals with the tools and knowledge to stand for political office and take up leadership opportunities across society.

The Blavatnik School of Government is the lead academic partner in this initiative , which is organised by the House of Commons and Operation Black Vote (OBV) in collaboration with Oxford University’s Magdalen College and Blavatnik School of Government, and Lloyds Banking Group.

The programme includes 10 months of mentorship from Magdalen College alumni and a five-day academic programme led by the Blavatnik School. Participants build their confidence with political institutions, and enhance their familiarity with the UK’s political landscape. The five-day residential programme combines formal academic classes, informal discussions with politicians and journalists, and immersion in parliamentary-style debate.

Last year’s guest speakers included: negotiations expert Associate Professor Emily Jones; former special advisor to the UK Prime Minister Nick Timothy; US presidential campaign strategist Parag Mehta; and top sports and leadership psychologist Steven Sylvester. Applications for the 2021 programme have closed.

Applications for the programme beginning in January 2022 will open in May 2021. If you wish to be notified when applications are open, please email


The programme aims to deepen understanding of major political, civic and business concepts, including:

  • How Whitehall runs
  • The dynamics of a political career
  • Policy and Parliament
  • The media and message framing
  • The unique experiences of BAME politicians
  • Business, politics, and policy
  • Strengthening a political network
  • Success in negotiations
  • Public integrity in matters of race


“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of how high the stakes have become for BAME communities in every public policy decision, from access to healthcare to employment to housing. The Blavatnik School of Government is a full partner in Pathway to Success because these policy decisions must be taken by leaders both grounded in the issues and grounded in these communities.”
Professor Chris Stone, Academic Director for the course

“We are excited to be embarking on another year of this very special leadership programme with our fantastic partners and led by first-class speakers and world-leading experts. The programme is an opportunity to identify and carve out the BME leaders of the future. If you have the ambition and passion to lead at the very top, this programme was made for you.”
Lord Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote Director

“The Pathway to Success Leadership Programme with Operation Black Vote, Oxford University and the House of Commons propelled my career in ways I could never have imagined. The level of exposure and skills it equipped me with created opportunities and developed connections that continue to fuel my professional growth and drive. Subsequent to the programme I was headhunted to a position on the Board of Directors for the Global Fund for Children. It’s an honour and privilege to represent my community as an alumnus of this programme.”
Cllr Mete Coban, Hackney Council and CEO of My Life My Say, a youth-led charity

Pathway to Success participants posing for a photo in the Blavatnik School

Last year's Pathway to success cohort