The Macra na Feirme Young Farmer Skillnet programme passed a milestone this week as the first participants in its Leadership for Young Professionals (L4YP) course graduated.
The programme is the first of its type 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.
The course was developed in conjunction with the Agri-Food Graduate Development Programme (AFGDP) in University College Cork. A group of 10 members completed this intensive four month leadership certificate in University College Cork. 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.
Speaking on behalf of AFGDP, UCC’s Dr Joanne Fearon said “It was a real pleasure to work with this group over the last four months. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds with unique career plans and developmental needs but each student participated fully in the programme and I observed significant professional growth for each graduate over the programme. I look forward to following their careers into the future.”
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 mastery of these topics. All of the students agreed that this course will be useful to them in their future career goals and they would recommend it to a colleague.
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.
The completion of this course is perfectly timed as 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 macra.ie/leadersoftheyear. The new course and awards aim to develop and reward upcoming leaders in Macra na Feirme and encourage others to get involved.