The Department for Employment and Learning is sponsoring the Excellence in Development of Management and Leadership category at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards 2014. Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry outlines the importance of developing management and leadership skills in the Northern Ireland economy:
In order to develop a vibrant economy in Northern Ireland, businesses need highly skilled leaders and managers. Strong leadership and management skills are vital to improving the performance of local businesses and to achieving sustained economic growth.
Leadership and management skills are proven worldwide to be a highly effective way for companies to gain a competitive edge.
Increased skill levels help firms adapt more quickly and effectively to change, and this in turn gives them more confidence to invest, to innovate, to seek out new markets and to grow.
We need to encourage companies to commit to training and developing their managers in order to maximise their full potential. As the signs of economic improvement begin to appear, businesses are increasingly realising that investing in the skills of their employees can increase productivity and overall success.
My department's Management Development branch offers a wide range of programmes which have been developed in consultation with NI companies to meet real business needs.
These programmes are currently offered at 100% funding for eligible participants, and more information can now be found at the website www.delni.gov.uk /madenotborn.
The programmes include the Management Analysis and Planning, or MAP programme, which is designed to improve overall business performance, the INTRO Entry to Management Programme for Graduates and the Management and Leadership Development Programme known as MLDP, which consists of a range of accredited courses designed to improve an individual manager's leadership and management skills.
Some of the programmes focus on generic management and leadership skills whilst others look at specific topics such as exporting, sales leadership or project management skills.
Since April 2013, 135 companies have signed up to the MAP programme, and 950 individual managers have signed up to the Management and Leadership Development programme, with over £3m committed to the training and development of managers.
I would encourage all employers to consider the benefits of investing in their workforce.
The department also provides a free online diagnostic tool, the Leadership and Management Skills Assessment, through which an individual manager can assess their skills and priority learning needs.
A personalised report is generated, which provides a self-assessed rating, and identifies areas for development, along with advice and signposting to relevant training resources and events. This can be accessed at www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/con tent/leadership-management-skills-assessment-1.
I look forward to seeing the excellent nominations for the Excellence in Development of Management and Leadership category and wish all of the entries the best of luck for the awards.