‘Leaders of tomorrow’: Pilot agri-business course tipped for success

The first participants of a new course designed to prepare young professionals to lead small to medium sized agri-businesses graduated earlier this week.

The programme, Leadership for Young Professionals (L4YP) course – run by Macra na Feirme Young Farmer Skillnet – was developed in conjunction with the Agri-Food Graduate Development Programme (AFGDP) in University College Cork (UCC).

The course

The programme is the first of its kind and was designed to familiarise participants with the issues and challenges that are faced by new managers within owner-manager and SME agri-business enterprises.

The programme blended theories of leadership and management with case studies and practical activities.

A group of 10 members completed the four-month leadership certificate in UCC.

A unique element of this programme was the targeting of young professionals who have been identified as having high leadership potential.

Providing these with formal leadership training at this stage of their careers should “accelerate their leadership capabilities individually and for their organisations”, according to the young farmers’ organisation.

Nine face-to-face training days were held in UCC over the four-month period with additional extracurricular learning in between.

Participants studied theories of: leadership; career management; finance for non-financial managers; motivation; performance management; critical thinking; team development; and decision-making.

Each student successfully passed an assessment to demonstrate satisfactory learning of these topics.

Macra Skillnet training manager, Brigid Quigley, said: “The farms, organisations and agri-business, from whom the graduates of this programme came, will benefit hugely from the skills and insights gained over the duration of the course.

“We are proud to be funding this course as we are very conscious that – in this age of technology, automation and very technically-competent graduates – those working in agriculture have to have the soft skills needed to build successful relationships with their clients and to be capable of making strategic management decisions.”

Intake for the next Leadership for Young Professionals Course will begin in August 2018.

Leaders of the Year Awards 2018

In other Macra news, applications are now open for the Macra/ABP Leaders of the Year Awards 2018.

This award, in association with ABP Food Group, is open to applications from all those who hold an officership at county or regional level. Officers can apply or be nominated on the Macra website.

The new course and awards aim to develop and reward upcoming leaders in Macra na Feirme and encourage others to get involved.