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The Academy for Churchill College Enterprise and Leadership Programme (ACCEL)


The Møller Institute recently had the pleasure of working with Churchill College to deliver The Academy for Churchill College Enterprise and Leadership (ACCEL), an exciting new leadership development opportunity for engineering and physical sciences undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The scheme is being run in partnership with Churchill College, specifically devised to help address the critical UK technical and engineering skills gap. The programme enables students to supplement their outstanding technical knowledge from their degree courses with the opportunity to practice and build the skills, confidence and aptitude to become leaders of tomorrow and make a positive impact in their careers.

Abigail Nicol, Education and Leadership Development Lead at the Møller Institute, said ‘This type of programme provides a space for students to learn about professional, leadership skills in a practical, hands-on way before entering the workplace. It can be seen as a bridge between academia and industry. There are not many opportunities for young people to learn and experience the skills and circumstances often found in organisations and these workshops have been designed to support students with this in a fun and interactive way.’

Ten undergraduate and six postgraduate students were selected to take part in the first cohort of ACCEL which kicked off in November 2023. Participants have been taking part in a series of six workshops, each covering a different aspect of leadership development. The skills and understanding they have been developing range from confidence, self-awareness and decision making, to giving and receiving feedback, networking and relationships, and employability.

As Richard Hill – Director of Education and Leadership Development at the Møller Institute reflects, “Creating the opportunities for students to step beyond their academic horizons and test themselves against behaviours, perspectives and mindsets they will need in the workplace is a critical part of preparing them for the world beyond Churchill College and Cambridge. Their technical ability, honed through study in Cambridge is the launchpad for their careers – but the platform for success in their futures will be the ways in which they work with and alongside those around them. A programme like ACCEL creates the opportunity for them to try out new ways of thinking and acting so they can start to consider where they are heading next.”

Over the summer, participants will work on extended projects to put their new skills to use and explore something they are interested in outside of their course academic requirements. These projects can take a range of approaches and may include internships, community, design and research projects, with opportunities for project funding opportunities available to apply for through ACCEL. There will be a celebration event later in the year to showcase work carried out over the summer alongside opportunities for ongoing engagement with the ACCEL community the following academic year.

Find out more about the ACCEL programme here.