SEM Emerging Leaders Programme Reaches successful Conclusion

By Ms Claire Small and Dr Julia Newton, 4 Jun, 2024 | 7 min read

March 2023 saw the first cohort of The Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) Emerging Leaders programme gather at the Royal College of Physicians in London. This project was a joint initiative between BASEM and The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK, which aimed to develop the leadership skills and abilities of members from both groups. This would then support them in pursuing the increasing number of leadership roles and requirements necessary to ensure a strong and successful future for SEM.

Developing leadership capabilities had been identified as a priority for members and Fellows in a previous FSEM survey and formed part of the strategic priorities for BASEM. As both groups worked to explore options around formation of a College of FSEM, it was thought that a joint leadership project was a valuable initiative. 

First Iteration of the Programme

The programme was aimed at Consultants in SEM, Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioners, GPs with an Extended Role (GPwER) in SEM and other members of the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT). As this was the first iteration of the programme, it was fully funded and supported by BASEM and the Faculty. This created a competitive application process with the successful candidates comprising 9 Consultants in SEM and 3 Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioners. The group had diverse working environments including the NHS, UKIS, The FA, other professional sporting organisations, independent practice and the UK Defence Force, aiming to ensure leadership capabilities were developed across the entire SEM community.

The 16-month course consisted of 5 full teaching days, a mix of face to face and online learning, and also required completion of a leadership project relevant to the work of BASEM, the Faculty or their employed role. This first course concluded in March 2024 with presentations on each participant’s project.

Feedback regarding the success and benefits of the course has been overwhelmingly positive. Below are two reflections from participants that contain more detail around the course content, the overall experience and individual learnings.

The BASEM Board and the FSEM Council are now reviewing the course, its outputs and the participant feedback to determine if there is merit in running future courses. Any information about future courses will be published on both the BASEM and Faculty websites in due course, with any future cohort likely to commence in 2025.


Dr Alethea McHardy
Dr Alethea McHardy, Consultant SEM, Ministry of Defence, Edinburgh, Scotland
The Why?

Having been a Consultant in Sport & Exercise Medicine since 2018 I was starting to be asked to consider more Senior leadership roles and I did not feel confident in applying for these roles. I reflected on why this may be and felt there was potentially a gap in my knowledge as throughout my previous training as firstly a General Practitioner and then as a Consultant there had not been any formalised teaching.  As they say you don’t know what you don’t know!

What I thought I would get out of the course?

When I started the course, I thought I would get a good grounding in leadership theory and start to gain the skills required to develop in leadership. I hoped that alongside others at a similar junction in their career I would be able to grow with them and gain peer-peer support. I felt the course would help me know if leadership was for me and if so in what domain.


As part of the programme, you were required to have a leadership project to work on. I decided to focus mine on my role as the Out of the Blocks Chair for the Faculty of Sport & Exercise Medicine (FSEM). This is the FSEM new consultants’ initiative that aims to support Consultants in their first 5 years post CCT or CESR. This is done in several ways via education, mentorship, and peer-peer support. I felt this was a good project to focus on as I had been involved with the OOTB since it was founded, and we were looking to continue to develop the structure.

What I actually got out of the course?

This course far beyond met my expectations and exceeded it. I have developed in my leadership beyond recognition. The journey at the start was very much a significant amount of learning and I found myself reading books, listening to podcasts and thinking about leadership and theory a lot of the time. A trip in the middle of the course for a family wedding saw me visit Robben Island in South Africa where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years, and it was moments of reflection like this that made me really get to grips with what a good leader looks like and what values they embody. I have developed the confidence to put myself forward for leadership roles and acknowledge that I do have the skills to lead. I gained great insight into leadership by learning from others in the group who were from different career backgrounds, and it was supportive learning alongside others at a similar point in their leadership journey. I feel very lucky to have gone through the programme with this group.

Would you recommend the FSEM/BASEM Emerging Leaders Course to others?

Unreservedly YES!

Chris Whittle
Chris Whittle, BSc (Hons) MCSP MACPSEM Clinical Manager & Physiotherapist at Pure Sports Medicine

I embarked on the FSEM/BASEM Emerging Leaders Course in 2023. I was initially attracted by the practical nature of the course, whereby we were to undertake a leadership project, alongside the taught/academic component.

In blending the teaching structure and practical element, my existing leadership skills have been challenged, and an abundance of new ways of thinking and working developed. We’ve been given the opportunity to learn from some of the real leaders in Sports & Exercise Medicine, and the organisation throughout has been fantastic.

The taught element of the course is fast paced, with a large emphasis on reflective learning, participation and interaction. Working alongside the other candidates/participants on the course has been enlightening, and we’ve created a great bond over the last 12/18 months. Gaining multi­professional colleagues from across the country/ies, who work in a variety of healthcare settings, has been a real unexpected bonus.

As the course has progressed, I’ve increasingly utilised the additional components that the course has to offer. We have been given the opportunity to work personally with a leadership coach Felicity King, and we have all been given the support of a senior leadership mentor within Sports & Exercise Medicine, both of whom have an incredible amount of knowledge and experience. Both resources were relatively new to me; and their objective viewpoints, on both my project and day-to-day role have been invaluable. Certainly, something I’ll be continuing following the course.

I can’t commend this course highly enough and feel well equipped to take on leadership roles and projects.

The Emerging Leaders cohort following the conclusion of the programme