No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Interview of the month: the Springboard Consultancy


The Springboard Consultancy are celebrating the tenth anniversary of women's development programme Springboard.

The programme began in the BBC, and is now run in 14 different countries using a network of over 380 trainers. 300 companies in the UK have sent employees on the programme so far, including a number of local councils, banks and universities.

130,000 women have already undertaken the programme, which consists of four one-day workshops spread over three months, supported by a workbook, support group and networking. Among other things, the programme covers confidence-building, balancing home and work, goal setting and assertiveness.

The 'brother' development programme for men, Navigator, was launched partly as a response to the changing role of men in society and the increased importance of traditionally 'feminine' skills in the workplace. More specialist programmes have been run for part-time staff, shift workers, black women, disabled women, returners to work and unemployed women.

TrainingZONE spoke to co-founder and chief executive of the Springboard Consultancy Jenny Daisley.

TZ: Jenny, the Springboard programme has been running for ten years now. How has it changed over time?

JD: Ten years ago, large scale women's development was unusual in the business world - it took place mostly at management level. A programme for women who weren't at management level like this one was controversial. Organisations were saying they wanted women to move up the ladder, but women didn't have the confidence to do it. The main aims of the programme were therefore to develop women's confidence.

Now, there are more women in management positions but we still don't have equality. Some of the women who were on the early programme are now themselves managers. Two things have changed about the programme; younger women are more confident (the programme has changed to accommodate this) and the setting of work has changed - the idea of a job for life has disappeared. In the early stages there was no demand from men for a similar programme - it's taken time for them to admit that they need the programme too!

TZ: Is there anything new that's been added to the programme?

JD: One thing the women's programme does now is that it addresses feelings head-on. In the early days of the programme, this would have been considered a bit controversial! Nowadays, people are more receptive to, for example, meditation. As many of the Springboard trainers have been running the programmes for 10 years now, they are more experienced and can take more risks, and there's more trainer choice over the way the programmes are delivered.

TrainingZONE: We read that Springboard recently held a conference which was attended by Springboard trainers from around the world. What were the highlights?

JD: At the conference we launched the new women's development workbook - it's the fifth edition - with new profiles, case studies and new material which runs parallel with the content of the mens workbook.

What was exciting about the conference was that not only was Springboard celebrating ten years, the conference was organised by the trainers themselves, not the consultancy. They brought women from all over the world - India, Australia, Latvia, France, Finland - to share experiences of delivering the programme.

Another thing that happened at the conference was that Navigator and Springboard trainers met to share ideas about single-gender training (the women's programme is run by women, and the men's by men). The reasoning behind single-gender training is that if people are not secure in their own gender, it will influence the way the training is run. We also launched plans for a new programme for women, with the pilot name 'greenlight'. There will also be a programme to help those involved with this type of training to be more specific about the design and development of women managers' programmes.

TZ: There are bound to be cultural differences between running the programme in the UK and elsewhere in the World -can you give us an example of this?

JD: There's a vast comparison to be made between running Springboard here and in India. There, only the well-educated have access, and they are the only ones in work and who are literate in English. The trainers may face a 26-hour train journey to deliver the programme, and they have to go there four times in three months!

In India we're planning to translate the materials into four of the thirteen languages there. The implications for India are finding ways to reach people - it's a question of literacy and access.

TZ: Will going online help?

JD: Not at the moment - the average woman doesn't have access. We would really like to have a sponsor in India who would sponsor cybercafes, or similar, which would be safe and culturally acceptable for women to access.

TZ: Do you follow the progress of those who've attended the programmes?

JD: Yes, some of the case studies can be found in the workbook. One example relates to a woman being promoted to a job five grades higher. She had returned to work after a break and had secured a relatively low-ranking post. After attending Springboard, she applied for some higher grade jobs for the interview experience, and actually got one!

TZ: Of course, one thing usually leads to another like that - presumably that's the idea of the 'Springboard'?

JD: Yes, exactly, they are bouncing on the end! In India, one whole group decided that every woman would set a target to teach another woman to read. When I went out a year ago for the first conference, the group were able to report that they had taught 30 women to read. Another organisation decided they wanted all staff to access the programmes, including the support staff - cleaners and cooks. Small groups were formed to look after these women (who were illiterate). By the end of the programme, they could all write their names.

TZ: It sounds impressive - that must keep you motivated?

JD: It's the stories that keep me going - there are so many examples of women deciding to change tack into male-dominated areas or leaving damaging relationships. One even joined round the round-the-world yacht race! Another example concerns a BBC researcher with no qualifications. She really wanted to return to education, and achieved a place at university to read English Literature at Oxford. We're pleased at the number of women who've decided to go into management positions who said they wouldn't before, and some of the women who've attended the programme are coming forward to be trainers.

TZ: If, say, TrainingZONE wanted to take part, how would we go about it?

JD: Some organisations have an in-house trainer, some buy in freelance trainers, there are some open programmes aimed at corporate market and some public programmes. The key thing is that we set out to enable women to have access to quality training. We think that 130,000 women have experienced that, and that's a pretty good figure! The other thing to note is that it's not just important for the workplace to change for women - men need to change as well.

TZ: We read that both you and Liz Willis, who founded the (co-founders of Springboard) have been shortlisted for a European Women of Achievement Award this year - that's quite an achievement!

JD: Yes, we've reached the last five. The results are being announced at Grovesnor House (London) on the 14th July. We've worked in 14 different countries, and many of those are in Europe. We've also done work in Latvia, Slovakia, Belgium and Greece, which isn't strictly speaking Springboard but is along similar lines, so I think you could say we've done a fair amount in Europe! We've actually won a few awards, including a National Training Award, a Canberra University award for most innovative programme and the Lady Platt award for Equal Opportunities.

TZ: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today.

The Springboard workbooks for both men and women are available separately to buy from Hawthorn Press. For further details about the workbook and the programmes, visit the website or e-mail

There are currently over 380 Springboard licensed trainers in the UK. Details of how to become a Springboard licensed trainer are also available on their website.

Springboard Associates has recently formed as a group of trainers, consultants and developers available to provide tailored training programmes for developing men and women. Courses available include 'Women in Management', 'Women in Leadership' and other short courses on topics such as managing self-esteem and public speaking. They can also be contacted at


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!