Universities South Africa offers a leadership and management training programme called HELM (Higher Education Leadership and Management). HELM is aimed at professionals in middle management positions (academic and non-academic) within the university sector who exhibit management and leadership potential. HELM builds the capacity of its candidates for the benefit of all our member universities.

The objectives of HELM are to:

  • Enhance the leadership and management competence of middle management staff members;
  • Expand the pool from which senior leaders and managers could be drawn;
  • Contribute to the transformation of existing leadership and management staff profiles;and
  • Contribute to improved effective leadership and management practices.

The structure of the HELM programme varies from year to year depending on the needs of our members, availability of funding and other factors.


Following a good response to a call for applications late in 2014, a group of 40 candidates was selected to participate in the 2015 intake. The 2015 programme consisted of three workshops structured as follows:

Workshop 1 (25-27 February 2015) was devoted to broader higher education system issues in respect of legislation, policy, and governance. The workshop looked at South Africa’s higher education system within an international perspective and explored trends in the past decade. It also looked at challenges facing universities, such as transformation, differentiation and funding, amongst others.
Workshop 2 (22-24 April 2015) looked, inter alia, at a variety of planning instruments used for steering the higher education system. Topics included the role and function of strategic planning in South Africa’s higher education system, and key considerations in academic planning within the context of the core functions of universities.
Workshop 3 (24-25 June 2015) was dedicated to the funding of higher education and some basic financial management issues. It looked at sources of income for universities; explored past and current trends and prospects to enable forecasting, scenario planning and informed decision-making in these future leaders.


Applications for the 2015 academic year have closed. Calls for Applications for future programmes will be sent to Vice-Chancellors and published on this website.