Managers and small-business owners across the Tees Valley are coming together to share their expertise, thanks to a new initiative spun out of a successful leadership programme.
Teesside University has established a Leading Growth Alumni network to bring together former participants in its leadership and management programmes, for a bi-monthly series of think-tanks, workshops and informal discussions.
More than 100 people from over 70 companies have been through Leading Growth and Management Catalyst, both part of a suite of Teesside University Business School leadership programmes, and run from the Centre for Professional and Executive Development in Darlington.
Both programmes, which cover Tees Valley and are fully funded, will be accepting new cohorts in the New Year. Leading Growth is for owner-managers, while Management Catalyst is aimed at aspiring managers.
The Leading Growth Alumni network will enable participants to strengthen existing relationships as well as building new ones with other business leaders.
Sessions will include masterclasses on topics including coaching, presentation skills, finance and futurism.
Elaine Hooker, programme director, said: ‘Teesside University has a powerful role to play in developing and regenerating the area, and improving the leadership and management of small businesses is really important.
‘These skills are not always embedded in a business, so we run these non-accredited courses to help people learn them with a real focus on peer-to-peer learning.
‘Delegates really value them for the way they have helped with business growth and strategy.’
Dr Noel Dennis, MBA course leader at Teesside University Business School added: ‘Leading Growth is an excellent programme that brings together like-minded business professionals and encourages them to reflect on their professional practice.
‘The programme is an excellent bridge to our MBA course, which has entrepreneurial leadership at its heart and is aimed at those leaders who want to develop their personal agility to enhance organisational performance in all respects.’
Sarah Collinson and Allen Brindle from Darlington digital design agency Edward Robertson took part in the Management Catalyst course. The company is now working with the University to develop a bespoke training course to improve its teams.
Sarah said: ‘I can’t recommend the course enough. Since completing it we’ve changed lots of processes. We’ve introduced a new company hierarchy, appraisals and pay-band structures.
‘I’ve made friends on the course who I’m still in contact with and regularly contact them if I have a problem and that’s been really useful.’
Richard Weeks, general manager at Hunley Hall Hotel at Saltburn, has embarked on an MBA with Teesside University Business School since completing the Leading Growth programme.
He said: ‘The Leading Growth course has made me look at myself a bit more and how I operate at work. It’s meant we’ve worked better as a team and much tighter as a group.
‘It’s been 15 years since I undertook any formal study and this was a great way of getting back into education as there wasn’t any work outside of the course.
‘After completing Leading Growth I wanted to go on further, and have begun the MBA which is a fantastic extension to everything I have learned on the course.’