CBI Foundations Programme

CBI Foundations Programme

CBI Foundations Programme

21 September 2021



Developing political awareness and influence for business

The external environment is experiencing unprecedented change, and the role of business in shaping the future has never been more important.   

With political uncertainty at an all-time high, shifting societal expectations and rapid technological progress, it is essential to develop the capability across your business to respond to new risks and opportunitiesThis programme equips participants with a broad understanding of how to navigate the political and economic contextmanage external stakeholders and collaborate with government to drive change. 

Developing political awareness and influence

An experiential programme, with a focus on the big challenges for the future as well as the issues of today. Participants will develop the ability to effectively engage with government, as well as develop a diverse network of peers who will provide a formal and informal support network.

Guided by CBI experts, participants will take part in a range of virtual learning sessions to build their understanding of the business environment and effective stakeholder mapping. Facilitated discussions, small group working, and stakeholder meetings will enable participants to understand the live context of policy issues, key drivers and influencers of change.

Programme delivery

The programme consists of six topic themed modules delivered over a five-month period. Each module will contain a mix of learning and immersive activities designed to provide you with subject matter knowledge, build your capabilities and change your mindset. There will be self-study and small group exercises to complete in between the modules, to bring the content to life. 


  1. Understanding policy, campaigning & influencing
  2. Influencing in Westminster and Whitehall
  3. Working with devolved administrations in the regions and nations
  4. The EU and its institutions
  5. The impact of global politics on business and trade
  6. Developing your competitive advantage 

Our 2021 Cohort will commence in September as a face-to-face programme, meeting all government guidelines to ensure the programme is Covid-secure. If regulations at the time do not allow for in-person events, we will switch to offer a virtual solution for any modules impacted.  

Key Benefits

  • Understand what the changing political and economic landscape means for your business
  • Appreciate how societal expectations and technological progress are changing the role of business and government
  • Get early insight into the key policy decisions impacting business from CBI policy experts, business leaders and political stakeholders
  • Know who is influencing change beyond central government and how to engage decision makers
  • Land your key messages and build your influence with different audiences – personally and for your business
  • Benefit from a virtual peer group of cross-sector professions, providing a formal and informal support network of like-minded people.

Module Dates - Autumn 2021 Cohort

Module 1 - Understanding policy, influencing and campaigning

  • Two days: 21-22 September (London)

Module 2 - Influencing in Westminster and Whitehall

  • Two days: 19-20 October (London)

Module 3 - Working with devolved administrations in the regions and nations

  • Two days: 17-18 November (Region tbc)

Modules 4 and 5 - The EU and its institutions and the impact of global politics on business and trade

  • Two days: 14-15 December (London)

Module 6 - Developing your competitive advantage

  • Two days: 12-13 January (London)

Who should apply?

The Programme is designed to better equip experienced professionals in business unit roles, who need to broaden their external perspective and develop their capabilities to succeed in their current or planned future role.

Equally, the Programme is suitable as part of induction to a role requiring an increased strategic or external focus and/or government engagement. The programme is not intended for those in government/public affairs roles, but aims to develop leaders outside of this field. 

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all sizes and sectors of business. We ask that applicants have the support and commitment of their line manager and company HR Director/budget holder. 


  • Places are limited to 20 per cohort
  • Discounts available for small businesses and charities - please get in touch for details
  • Prices exclude participant travel and accommodation expenses; food and beverages are included. 

Get in touch

Emma Connolly

Emma Connolly

Head of Leadership Programme

Emma is responsible for the CBI’s Leadership Development offering, which includes the Executive and Strategic Talent Programmes, as well as other bespoke courses, virtual workshops and masterclasses. Emma joined the CBI in 2017 from EY, where she was a management consultant in the Financial Services team for many years, and prior to this has worked for Barclays, LBG and RBS. Emma holds an MA in International Relations and French from St Andrews University and is an accredited Executive Coach.