Commencing in January, the diploma in leadership for the agriculture and food sector is designed for the development of young professionals working for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

SMEs in Ireland have limited scope to develop sectorally relevant graduate training programmes that meet the developmental needs of young graduates entering this sector.

In response to this, Macra Agricultural Skillnet and UCC have collaborated to offer an exceptional, significantly subsidised graduate programme. This agri-food specific graduate development programme, which leads to a level 7 diploma in leadership for the agri-food sector, offers a valuable bridge between university and working life.

It will provide relevant business, management, leadership and professional development skills to young graduates in SME companies, without burdening the companies with the expense of developing an in-house programme.

This programme is designed to meet the management and leadership development needs of young agri- food graduates in the first three years of their working life.

Alongside the core technical business skills and best-practice tools, the programme will equip participants with motivation and coaching skills that will enhance their professional identity and capability.

Participants will be able to embrace new challenges within their organisation

As a result of this programme, participants will be able to embrace new challenges within their organisation and help to grow and have a lasting impact on their company in this fast-paced industry.

Who should attend?

  • Graduates who are working in an SME agri-food company and have the ambition and motivation to develop their core management skills.
  • Graduates of food science, agriculture or related disciplines who have graduated in the last three to five years, ideally.
  • For applicants without a level 8 degree, prior experiential learning and recognition of prior learning (RPL) will be taken into account.
  • Programme modules

    1 Introduction to management

  • Different management styles and structures.
  • Models of management in successful agri-food businesses.
  • Own management/leadership style evolution, how may vary with situation.
  • 2 Performance management

  • Models for performance measurement.
  • Understanding and harnessing the varying performance drivers in people.
  • Toolkit for getting the best out of both oneself and individuals; managing conflict.
  • 3 Business planning

  • From mission statement to business plan.
  • Defining steps to finalised business plan, from feasibility to product/service launch.
  • Swot analysis; KPI selection for measuring actuals.
  • 4 Time management

  • Principles of effective time management.
  • Toolkit for prioritising work, delegation, ranking, scheduling.
  • Building awareness of own daily pattern of energy levels and working around same.
  • 5 Project management and team working

  • Project frameworks.
  • Project planning, implementation, follow-up.
  • Behaviour in teams, team building, getting the best from your team.
  • 6 LEAN

  • Introduction to six sigma LEAN methodology.
  • Practical tools to help ease embedding of Lean in organisation.
  • 7 Communication and presentation

  • Effective communication skills, learning to read non-verbal communication.
  • Effective influencing.
  • Keys to successful presentations.
  • 8 Decision-making and critical thinking

  • Main decision-making models explained and their optimal usage.
  • How personal and group think impacts decision-making.
  • Critical thinking skills, to aid effective decision-making.
  • 9 Finance for non-financial managers

  • Basics of accounting: profit and loss, balance sheet, cashflow.
  • Budgets, forecasts, actuals reporting.
  • Product costing, pricing, receivables and debt management.
  • 10 Innovation, sales and marketing

  • What is innovation, how to nurture it in oneself and others.
  • Brainstorming, creativity, idea generation.
  • Effective selling, negotiating, making a pitch.
  • The programme design facilitates individuals who wish to study on a part-time basis and integrate their studies with their careers.

    Participants will attend 10 two-day interactive workshops which will be held alternately at UCC, and a geographically convenient hotel venue, or indeed online should Covid-19 restrictions dictate.


    Space is limited to 20 participants and the closing date for applications is 7 January 2022.

    For more information, email