Focus: People Management - Specialist sector leadership courses

Graham Willgoss,

Aspiring and existing chief executives get their own training programmes.

Acevo has developed seven leadership programmes to improve the management skills of sector leaders and encourage aspiring young chief executives to pursue a career in the voluntary sector.

Each programme has been constructed with a management consultancy or business school specialising in different areas of leadership and management.

These include transformational leadership and change, forming effective partnerships and a programme to develop new chief executives.

"It is crucial that we as sector leaders develop our leadership skills," says John Low, chair of Acevo and chief executive of the RNID. "This process can never stop. Professional support is essential, and these courses will help both aspiring and existing chief executives develop their thinking in an imaginative and structured environment."

Ann Collins, chief executive of Age Concern Neath Port Talbot, is taking the Acevo course in company direction at the Institute of Directors. She had already taken postgraduate courses in management, but wanted further professional development.

"Higher up the career ladder, it's hard to find something that's challenging enough," she says. "I wanted to go beyond the local level to find something that would develop my abilities further. The IoD diploma was one of the few suitable courses around and has credibility across the sectors."

The Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School, City University, runs two of Acevo's programmes: New Chief Executive and Next Generation Chief Executive.

Caroline Copeman, senior visiting fellow at Cass, says: "We know that investment in such skills is much lower in our sector than in others, and we wanted to make access to teaching from a world-class business school and centre of excellence available to a wide audience at a reasonable cost.

"We crafted the programmes so they give maximum return on the time chief executives spend away from work."

A programme designed for senior executives, Developing the Experienced Leader, will be run by the Cranfield School of Management. It will cover strategic thinking, strong sustainable leadership and insightful relationship management. Participants will also have the opportunity to share experiences with senior business leaders from the public and private sectors attending the school's Business Leaders' Programme.

It will be launched at an evening for Acevo members on 22 February. The first programme will take place from 15 to 17 May.

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