A new graduate course for those employed by small to medium enterprise (SME) agri food companies has been launched by Macra na Feirme Agricultural Skillnet. The UCC diploma in management practice (agriculture and agri food) will provide SMEs with a tailored graduate programme designed to enhance the skills of current graduates and help companies retain talent.

Larger organisations may be able to offer their own in-house training programmes, but this is often not a feasible option for the majority of Ireland’s SME sector, due to cost constraints. This is why Macra and UCC have collaborated to offer a new agri-focused programme that delivers core management skills to graduates in the sector.

The course will be run by a dedicated team in the food industry training unit in UCC. The diploma will be delivered in a series of 10 two-day-workshops, commencing in September 2020 and running until May 2021.

The course will fit around the graduates full-time roles. COVID-19 restrictions dictate that the first five modules at least will be delivered online.

Programme modules

  • 1 Introduction to management.
  • 2 Performance management.
  • 3 Business planning.
  • 4 Time management.
  • 5 Project management and team working.
  • 6 LEAN.
  • 7 Communication and presentation skills.
  • 8 Decision making and critical thinking.
  • 9 Finance for non-financial managers.
  • 10 Innovation, sales and marketing.
  • The programme is designed to meet the needs of graduates from agri-food disciplines in the first three years of their working life. For applicants without a level eight degree, prior experience and recognition of prior learning will be taken into account.

    The programme is designed for individuals who wish to study on a part-time basis. The contact learning days will be delivered in different venues around the country, to facilitate the geographical location of participants. Each student will undertake an in-company project that will provide them with an opportunity to apply, test and integrate theories, concepts and frameworks presented through the course. Participants will be mentored by someone in their company and will be visited at their workplace to help maximise the outcome of their project for the company.

    The net cost to the company is €4,250 per student, payable in two instalments in September 2020 and January 2021. Places are limited to a maximum number of 20. See macra.ie/skillnet for more information.