Co-operatives participating include Arrabawn, Aurivo, Bandon, Barryroe, Dairygold, Drinagh, Kerry, Lakeland Dairies, Lisavaird, Mid-Tipperary Mart and Tirlán.
Twenty-four farmer directors and business leaders within Irish co-operativeshave completed the Diploma in Corporate Direction provided by UCC and ICOS Skillnet, the Continuing Professional Development and training arm of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society.
The diploma programme, which runs every two years, was first offered in 2013. It had to be temporarily deferred during the pandemic and was re-initiated last year.
The programme is designed to improve and support the capabilities of directors and managers in the area of corporate governance and in a rapidly changing agri-business environment. It has a new and specific focus on sustainability across all modules this year.
In the last decade, ICOS Skillnet has provide training and education to over 10,000 co-operative staff across 140 distinct programmes.
Billy Goodburn, Head of Learning and Development for ICOS Skillnet, said:
“The key aim of the Diploma in Corporate Direction is to support and develop the leadership capabilities of directors and management within Ireland’s co-operative food companies. This is geared towards strategic direction and corporate governance for overall organisational success.”
Goodburn also noted the sector’s need for strategic vision and robust leadership in the face of sustainable development challenges.
“In a volatile, highly competitive, globalised marketplace, skills enhancement, particularly in sustainability, climate action, and decarbonisation is crucial.
“The programme encourages co-op leaders to refine and expand their skills in strategy, governance, compliance, and communication through an interactive setting, with guidance from academic and industry experts.
“With the growing complexity of operations and regulations, there is a heightened need for skills development. The diploma caters specifically to co-op directors, aligning with the unique democratic structure and economic objectives of their organisations.”
ICOS Skillnet is funded by Skillnet Ireland and Irish co-operative member companies. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
21 Nov 2023