The Further Education CFO Programme

As demands on the Further Education sector continue to rise, the need for Finance Directors and Chief Finance Officers (CFOs) to step forward has never been so important.

The ETF has co-developed a Department for Education funded programme with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) which is now on to cohort 8. The programme has run for many years with numerous delegates successfully completing it to date.

This programme, delivered by the ICAEW, is designed to support Finance Directors and CFOs to become more effective strategic business partners within their organisations and to work better with their CEO or Principal to drive strategy forward.

View the FE CFO Programme brochure

Key benefits

The key areas that the programme aims to support CFOs in are:

  • leading change
  • business partnering and strategic leaderships
  • building relationships developing influencing skills.

Richard Atkins, the FE Commissioner, has highlighted attendance on the ETF Leadership courses as one of his 10 recommendations for the effective leadership of colleges. He has stated that colleges should “ensure that your Chair, Principal/CEO and FD attend the relevant Saïd Business School/ETF leadership programmes. Feedback from these programmes is overwhelmingly positive.”

Programme content

The blended learning programme, which includes e-learning, a residential and an extended period of coaching, will ensure CFOs have the knowledge and confidence to:

  • manage transformation and lead effective change initiatives within their organisation 
  • generate profitable growth for their institution by thinking strategically at scale
  • build a forward-looking, sustainable and resilient finance function
  • develop a commercial outlook with an in-depth understanding of the FE business and college context
  • support effective and balanced business relationships with internal and external stakeholders
  • become a strategic partner who provides direction, support and commercial insight
  • challenge and influence the CEO and other senior stakeholders – verbally and non-verbally.


There is a CFO Programme alumni group (organised via LinkedIn) that those on the Programme are able to join after completion.


Over previous cohorts:

  • 100% agreed that the CFO programme exceeded their expectations
  • 100% said they would recommend this CFO programme to others
  • 4.7/5 was the overall satisfaction rate of the CFO residential programme
  • 4.8/5 had overall workshop satisfaction with an alumni event.

“All aspects have been thought-provoking and informative. The opportunity to engage with others facing the same or similar issues has been invaluable. A number of peers agreed to stay in contact to discuss any common issues moving forward. I will take away a number of tools and tips and will use them to improve myself.”

“[The programme] has impacted and changed my leadership in small but significant ways –more so than I would have thought possible. Valued each aspect of the programme.”

“Excellent programme which addressed all key areas of leadership development. It also gave a ‘tool kit’ to use to develop and grow as a leader.”

New for 2021/2022 Finance Director/CFO Mentor Programme


To find out more about the CFO programmes, please contact Zoë Card at