Engage Academy

Sector-leading, 7-month development programme for public engagement professionals.

* Applications for the 2023 Engage Academy are now closed *

Are you working to foster a culture of engagement in your organisation? Do you support others to engage with the public and communities? Are you keen to develop your agency, capabilities and networks to enhance your approach? 

Whether you call yourself a public engagement professional or wear a different title, the Engage Academy is for you. 

The 2023 Engage Academy will run again from January - July 2023, and provide engagement professionals with the opportunity to network amongst peers, explore common challenges, and build skills and strategies to enhance their approach and develop as change agents within their institutions.

During the 7 month programme we will support participants to: 

  • Interrogate the high quality public engagement principles including Purpose/Process/People/Evaluation
  • Explore theory and practice around topics such as ethics, power, partnerships and cultural change
  • Develop a strategic approach to embedding engagement at their organisation 
  • Explore their role as a ‘change maker’  
  • Develop a strong and supportive network

Sessions will be online, bookended with the opportunity to attend two in-person events in January and July. 

The programme, curated by NCCPE, provides innovative and inspiring insights from expert sector leaders. 

Is Engage Academy for me?

Engage Academy is intended for those whose role primarily involves supporting others to engage and we welcome applications form those working across higher education, research, knowledge, charity, health and public sector organisations. 

The Academy is designed for people at every stage of their engagement career, from those new to the sector through to those with many years of experience.

Programme structure 

Engage Academy provides a stimulating, flexible environment, encouraging thoughtful engagement with content, informal networking to recreate those 'coffee queue' moments, and opportunities to access content at times convenient to you. 

Please note, for those unable to attend the two in-person events there will be the option of joining us online with a dedicated online facilitator, to help involve you in discussions on the day.

The programme components include: 

  • Two one-day, in-person events focused on peer sharing and networking (held in Bristol, and offered online for anyone unable to attend the in-person events)
  • Two interactive online workshops
  • Four optional webinars, which can be accessed live or in your own time. Includes opportunities to meet the webinar contributors
  • Opportunities to meet individually with sector experts
  • Peer learning groups with support from an experienced mentor  

The Academy requires approximately 6-7 days commitment during the 7 month programme.

Please note by applying to the Academy 2023, you are confirming your availability for the following dates:



 Workshop 1- 1 day (In person with online option)

Wednesday 25th January, 10.00 - 16.00

 Workshop 2 - 2 days (Online)

Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd March, 9.30 - 14.30

 Workshop 3 - 2 days (Online)

Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th May, 9.30 - 15.30

 Workshop 4- 1 day (In person with online option)

 Thursday 13th July, 10.00 - 16.00

To make the most of the Academy, we encourage you to participate in all the opportunities on offer.

If you are successful in receiving a place on the Engage Academy, there will be tasks to complete in advance of each workshop. These will support you to reflect and explore your own organisation, and how it supports public and community engagement. 

Cost and bursaries 

The cost to attend Engage Academy will be £900 or an £800 early bird rate for tickets purchased in September 2022. 

We are committed to supporting people to be able to access the Academy. We offer bursaries (25% or 50% discount), for those who would find the costs of attending prohibitive otherwise. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please make a case for this when you apply.

In addition, we are able to support you to make a case internally for securing investment in your professional development.

Finally, we are able to offer an instalment option for payments. Please let us know if this applies to you when you apply.

Returning to an in-person event

The decision to run in-person elements of Engage Academy was made based on feedback from participants. Whilst we welcome the inclusivity of online sessions, we recognise that for some, in-person events offer a more inclusive experience. By offering Engage Academy both in-person and online we hope to cater for the various interests and needs of all our delegates.

We remain committed to the health and wellbeing of our community and we recognise that we are still living alongside Covid-19. We have therefore have put the following safety measures in place for the in-person elements of the event:

  1. If you are showing signs of and/or have tested positive for Covid-19 please do not attend the in-person events. You will be able to participate in the sessions online
  2. Hand sanitiser will be available at the venue
  3. Outdoor eating options are available for those wishing to eat outdoors (please bring a coat and umbrella)
  4. We welcome the wearing of masks and will provide them at the venue
  5. If the situation changes, we may have to cancel the in-person element of the event, and move the whole conference online

Apply for your place

Applications are now closed.


Please note that places on the Academy are awarded on the basis of your application form and application does not guarantee a place. We will endeavour to accommodate applicants who will most benefit from the opportunity to explore their role as institutional change makers.

We will respond to all applicants by Wednesday 16th November to let you know if you have been successful in gaining a place on the programme.


For all questions and enquiries, please contact NCCPE Senior Project Officer Siân Aggett at engage.academy@uwe.ac.uk.

Engage Academy 2020/21

68 people from a diversity of engagement roles joined us for our 2020/21 Engage Academy. Taking place online for the second time, the programme focused on the role of being a ‘change maker’ within organisations and the skills, knowledge and networks that will enable participants to advocate and implement the change they want to see.

What former Academy delegates say:

 “Everyone is so kind and welcoming and forgiving and teaching each other…it’s been great for my confidence…” 
2021/22 Academician

“The learning groups were great for me - we had some really valuable discussions and I found they really helped me feel more confident in some of my plans.” 
2021/22 Academician 

“The range of speakers and topics covered was great, including some from fields I've had little interaction with before e.g. systems change and branding.” 
2021/22 Academician 

“The Academy provides the space for you to try and transform your institution and embed public engagement across it. If you want to get your brain ticking over and stimulate a hotbed of ideas, connect with interesting people and be part of an ongoing community of practice, then I would recommend the Academy” 
2019/20 Academician