Building capacity through partnerships

At the University of Leeds, we are acutely aware that we have the ability to help influence the world in and beyond Leeds and play our part in creating a more sustainable future for everyone. Being a positive partner in the local community and helping to have a lasting impact on society is a key (fundamental) aim. Equally, we are fully committed to building knowledge and capacity through meaningful collaborations.

PIP provides the opportunity to bring together University colleagues with a wide range of Third Sector partners to form new partnerships, designed to bring mutual benefit. Through PIP, University staff and their Third Sector partners work together, combining their personal, professional or research expertise, to create new collaborative projects that build capacity and encourage positive social change.  Partnerships are formed through the programme based on the objectives developed by both partners with our support through the PIP induction workshops.  This could be on the basis of similar professional interests, project ideas or personal and organisational development needs. Ultimately, it’s about the creation of new partnerships that generate organisational and personal development opportunities for everyone involved!

The PIP programme is open to all University staff, individuals working (either paid or voluntary) in the third sector, charitable organisations, state-funded schools and any other social-benefit organisations.  You can find out more about PIP below, or sign up to be part of the programme here.

Mutual benefits

Effective collaboration through partnerships, brings benefits for the individual partners as well as the organisations involved.  At the core of the PIP programme is the relationship between partners and their creation of mutually beneficial  projects that will build capacity and encourage positive social change.  Read more about the benefits for community partners and University staff.

What to expect

Strong partnerships, ones that bring about mutual benefits, evolve where there is trust and commitment from both partners.  For this reason we advise that all participants agree to making certain commitments to the programme.  These commitments may differ from case to case, but in all cases are designed to underpin the partnerships and help foster trusting relationships.  Read more about the programme commitments.

Who can apply

  • All University of Leeds staff and PhD candidates with the agreement of their line managers or supervisors.[1]
  • Staff, trustees and volunteers* from any third sector/not-for-profit organisations (*where volunteers have regular, agreed roles and commitment to the organisation).
  • Staff (teaching, support and professional) and volunteers from state schools.

[1] Please note, a dedicated programme of support is available for University staff who are (or wish to become) School Governors.  

Registration Process

University and Third Sector partners are required to register their involvement with the programme through our online registration form. New University and Third Sector applicants will be asked to attend an induction and objectives workshop to outline the programme in more detail and to help partners scope out what they are hoping to achieve through their PIP partnerships.  Each session is attended by a wide range of interesting third sector and University partners and collectively participants identify the opportunities for individuals and organisations to benefit from PIP. Partners complete an objectives form at the end of their induction workshop which forms the basis for partnership matches to be made.  Read more about the registration process here.

Next steps

We are now expanding the PIP programme and recruiting new partners from across the University, Third Sector Organisations and Schools.   You can register your interest through our online application form.  Please note that this scheme operates at particular times in the year. While you can register your  interest in the programme at any time,  induction training  and partnership matching takes place in three rounds during the year. Our next round of  recruitment and induction training for new applicants will take place in the Autumn.   We will get in touch with details about next steps once you are have registered. If you have any questions about PIP contact Amanda Jackson on 0113 343 4073 or

What our partners say

We’re not starting from scratch here – the programme has been running since 2015 (under the name of Community Mentoring) with some inspiring outcomes and valuable experiences both for individual participants and their organisations.

“It’s a fantastic way to build your team’s confidence and utilise the broad expertise and knowledge within the University. The scheme has greatly supported our relationship with the University; we have more contacts and are in touch with lots of different groups which has really benefited the work we do. It’s also given us time to reflect on our own work with those outside the organisation.”

Eleanor Rowley, Team Leader at IntoUniversity Leeds South, an educational charity that aims to raise the aspirations of young people. Into University staff worked with their University partners to give an outside perspective on existing projects and help develop their professional skills in key business operation areas.   


“It’s a good scheme.  It helps me take time to analyse my role and gives me ideas, as well as giving me the chance to help someone else.”

Tim Goodall, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds. Tim worked with his charity partner to develop their professional skills.  Tim helped his partner find new networking and professional training opportunities, provided new insights into creating strong community engagement and managing their relationship with corporate partners.

“We got involved in the mentoring scheme as we are a very small and young organisation and it seemed like an amazing opportunity to tap into expertise and get advice in areas where we are lacking capacity. It is great to have someone to talk to who has a proven track record.  Our University partner also has an extensive network within the University that he can refer us to should he think of others who might be able to help in other ways. It is amazing how many chance links come up in conversation that might lead onto opportunities and avenues to explore. We would urge any organisation to take up the opportunity of working with a friendly individual who is offering their time and expertise for free!”

Jen Dyer, International Mixed Ability Sport (IMAS). IMAS is a Community Interest Company developing and promoting local, national and international projects delivering social inclusion and education through sport. Jen worked with her University partner to review IMAS’s business plan with a view to expanding their business model in to new areas of sport.

PIP Resources

Current PIP Opportunities March 2018

PIP A Guide for Partners

See the other staff opportunities available through the Sustainability Service here.