July 31, 2015: Deadline for applications
October 8, 2015: Interviews at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester
February 28-March 5, 2016: Week one of the course, Royal Agricultural University
March 20-24, 2016: Week two of the course, Brussels
April 17-21, 2016: Week three of the course, London
How do you drive yourself, your staff or your farm enterprise forward? Where can you go if you are hungry to pursue more of a leadership role within agriculture, or perhaps want to get started in becoming more involved in influencing key decisions?
The Institute of Agricultural Management’s leadership development programme has helped more than 80 delegates achieve this since it began in 2002, and applications for its 2016 group are still open.
Farmers, farm managers and others involved in agricultural management and associated rural businesses can apply.
Individuals in other groups associated with management in agriculture, such as consultants, advisers and academics research workers, are also welcome.
Course director Prof John Alliston says the aim of the programme is to develop an individual’s skills to undertake a leading role or position of influence within the agri-food sector.
He says: “The programme aims to give individuals a wider perspective along with the tools to help develop the UK agri-food industry.
It also looks at addressing the growing number of issues impacting the sector.” This is achieved by developing an understanding of policy-making in the UK and Brussels, interacting with influential sector leaders and learning from experiences and skills of fellow delegates.
The three-week residential course covers themes such as personal development, management and communication skills, the EU, international affairs and UK industry leaders.
"I decided to apply for the programme in 2010 when I was appointed as regional farm manager for Velcourt, prior to which I had been a farm manager for eight years.
I had been promoted from essentially a technical role as a manager to one which required leadership and client management skills.
This was a course which combined leadership development with agricultural management so was recommended.
Topics covered were diverse and some of the key elements were personal discipline, leadership skills, the importance of delegation, pathways of influence and how to communicate and motivate.
The personal contacts and relationships I developed while on the course, and subsequently retained, were an unexpected but beneficial element.
I have used contacts I have gained and applied personal and departmental organisation skills such as developing a look ahead approach to business management and leadership skills, to complement more traditional technical management skills.
I believe the importance of good leadership and communication skills in any industry is vital; but in one so intrinsic to our society, and one which faces tough and volatile times, clear vision and a ‘can-do’ approach, as well as skills to develop others, will be all the more important."
"I was working on mixed family farms in Dorset and Hants when I applied for the programme.
I felt ready for my next challenge and a need to be more involved in farming and agriculture beyond the farm.
You never stop learning and this course personifies that, encourages you to question, get involved, improve yourself and others around you, as well as pushing the boundaries of yourself and your business.
As farmers, we are in a privileged position, though sometimes it is hard to remember when the weather is against you or farmgate prices are low.
The course helps you recognise this and pushes you to realise your business’ potential. Other delegates thought I was more confident than I thought I was myself.
I always felt I was shy and lacking in confidence, happy to be quiet at the back of the room. Confidence is everything and all important.
If you have confidence and can encourage it in others, it becomes infectious and irresistible and what can be achieved with it is limitless.
I learned not to be frightened of failure, as you learn more from mistakes.
The only stupid question is one you fail to ask. In farming, as the boss, you think you are the most important person in the business and the business would collapse if you weren’t there.
The truth is it won’t – one person can only do so much, so I have learned to delegate more to others, trust others and give them more responsibilities and to feel more part of the business and the team."