Belfast Telegraph

Made Not Born sets out to teach the value of management skills

By Margaret Canning

Ever returned from a management course, fired up and enthused by what you’ve learned, only for a senior colleague to tell you to sit down and carry on as if you’ve never been away?

The Made Not Born programme from the Department for Employment and Learning wants to eradicate that thinking by educating businesses about management skills so that a firm’s productivity and prospects can be boosted.

The sponsor of the Excellence in the Development of Management and Leadership at this year’s Belfast Telegraph Business Awards, Made Not Born, runs events and programmes promoting management skills.

Mervyn Langtry, the head of DEL’s management and development branch, said good management skills can be learned and that good managers are “made, not born”.

Mr Langtry said: “Sponsoring the Excellence in Management category at the Business Awards is an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of Northern Ireland SMEs in enhancing the management skills of their managers — skills which are crucial to raising the productivity of the companies themselves and also Northern Ireland plc thereby helping to make us more competitive in the global marketplace.”

He urged interested companies to attend one of Made Not Born’s roadshow events. “There you can observe and hear about good practice from renowned management speakers. We bring together a range of speakers who are interesting and provide different insights into leadership management and are able to change what people think about leadership and management.

“We then provide programmes to back up some of the key lessons.”

There are two core programmes — the management analysis programme (MAP) and the management and leadership development programme.

MAP addresses the overall management and leadership of the business. A diagnostic exercise is carried out by a management expert to identify strengths, weaknesses and gaps in an organisation.

The business then receives a training and development plan which highlights achievable solutions to address any issues.

The management, leadership and development programme is aimed at the individual manager.

Mr Langtry said the programmes have a serious aim. “It’s aimed at improving the bottom line for companies in Northern Ireland, and that’s crucial at this time.

“There is an acknowledged shortfall in management policy and if we were able to raise the management level to that of other countries in Northern Europe, we could improve the economy to the tune of several million pounds.

“If we were to raise the level to that of the USA, we could improve our business performance to the tune of £1bn, based on 2009 research commissioned by Management Matters.”

Last year the costs of taking part in the programme were met by DEL, but Mr Langtry said that was “subject to change”.

“It’s clear that we are entering a period of financial pressure across government.

“The 100% measure is unlikely to continue beyond March, so some co-investment by the business will be required.”

Last year the Made Not Born programme attracted around 300 companies. “It’s important that companies do continue to train in times of economic difficulty.

“Companies which invest in training and development are two-and-a-half times more likely to survive and prosper in the post-downturn period.

“There is nothing worse than coming back from a course which has renewed and excited you, only for a manager to say ‘just go and sit down and get on with your work’.”

“It’s that kind of mind-set which we are keen to see changing.”

For information about the Made Not Born programme, visit the website —

Pitch Your Business

There's just over a fortnight left to apply for The Belfast Telegraph Northern Ireland Business Awards 2011 in association with bmi.

Local businesses of all sizes and types will shine a light on their achievements by competing for awards across 11 categories.

New awards this year include the non-entry category of Businessperson of the Year and the overall title of Outstanding Business of the Year.

The awards will take place at a ceremony at the Ramada Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast on Thursday April 7.

You can download your entry form and find more details by visiting the Telegraph website at: The competition closes noon on February 11. The judging panel, with the experience of other years to guide them, have some words of advice. Chairman John Simpson said: “First, the awards are designed to identify business qualities from a number of different aspects of the businesses. Applications will do better if the application focuses on the chosen category.

“The judges are keen to make decisions that reflect the merit of each application. Long essays are not required — shorter focused information is what is wanted.”

Award Categories

1. Outstanding Business Team of the Year, sponsored by Moy Park

2. Excellence in Marketing, sponsored by Progressive Building Society

3. Excellence in Exporting: sponsored by Northern Bank

4. Excellence in the Development of Management and Leadership, sponsored by Made Not Born

5. Excellence in Innovation, sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland

6. Outstanding Service to Business

7. Young Business Person of the Year, sponsored by Bibby Financial Services

8. Excellence in Technology

9. Best Small/Medium Business, sponsored by Yell

10. Business Person of the Year – a non-entry category which will be awarded by the judging panel based on an individual’s contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.

11. Outstanding business of the year — the overall winner will be selected by the judges from the winners of all the individual categories.

  • For sponsorship opportunities, to buy tickets for the event or for more information telephone JPR on 90 760066 or email

Belfast Telegraph