A sophisticated new Management Development Programme, designed specifically and exclusively for the Irish co-operative sector, has been launched by ICOS Skillnet, the learning and development division of ICOS (Irish Co-operative Organisation Society).
The new programme has been developed following widespread consultation within the industry. It stemmed from a working group established to identify training needs across the sector, which explored the development of industry-specific training interventions, developed by the industry for the industry, to enable substantive business growth. The working group was chaired by Philip Ducie, Head of HR at Dairygold Agri-Business.
The co-operative sector, which is funding the initiative, will own the intellectual property for the programme and will be able to use it for its own development needs into the future. The programme is also recognised and accredited through the Irish Institute of Training and Development.
The programme mixes lectures and workshops with self-directed learning, covering leadership, influencing and delegation, change management, communications and assertiveness, performance management, conflict resolution, commercial awareness, time management and the importance of high quality HR practices.
Each participant in the Management Development Programme undertakes a ‘DISC’ psychometric personal assessment test in advance to give them insights into how they handle or react to certain situations and scenarios in their business lives and careers.
The initial course has 16 managers participating, from dairy co-ops including Aurivo, Arrabawn, Dairygold, Glanbia and Tipperary, with others set to join the programme over the coming months.
Whereas pervious courses offered in the sector tended to be ‘function specific’, the individual participants in the new programme are from a wide range of occupations. This is designed to create a multi-disciplinary approach reflective of real organisational and business conditions. The current batch of participants include Agri-Retail Branch Managers, Production Supervisors, Plant Managers, Accounts Managers, Mill Managers, Shift Managers, Site Managers, Sales Managers, Maintenance Supervisors and Payroll Administrators.
ICOS CEO T.J. Flanagan said, “It’s great to see this exciting new programme developed by our industry for its own long term benefit and I congratulate everyone involved in its inception. This management development programme is designed to ensure that co-operatives will retain their competitiveness for the future based on strong business management principles. Faced with a wide range of opportunities and challenges, the co-operative sector needs leaders and management who are highly progressive and who will contribute meaningfully to the future success of their organisations. In doing so, they can also advance their own careers in the agrifood industry which is one of the most exciting sectors of our economy.”