Glanbia branch staff from both Castlelyons and Kilmeaden, Co Waterford were among a group of 16 Glanbia branch staff who have successfully completed a sophisticated Management Development Programme, designed exclusively for the Irish co-operative sector by ICOS Skillnet – the learning and development division of ICOS (Irish Co-operative Organisation Society).

The ICOS Skillnet programme ties in closely with the objectives of Food Wise 2025 – the strategic plan for the agrifood sector which targets 85% export growth to €19 billion by 2025 and the creation of 23,000 new jobs over the period.

The programme also prioritises management development by co-operatives in line with the Report on Future Skills Needs in the Food and Drink Sector, which is necessary to achieving Food Wise 2025.

The co-operative sector is funding the initiative and owns the intellectual property for the programmes, which are also recognised and accredited through the Irish Institute of Training and Development.

The courses mix lectures and workshops with self-directed learning, covering leadership, influencing and delegation, change management, communications and assertiveness, performance management, conflict resolution, commercial awareness, time management and the importance of high quality HR practices.

Each participant in the Management Development Programme undertook a ‘DISC’ psychometric personal assessment test in advance to give them insights into how they handle or react to certain situations and scenarios in their business lives and careers.


The programme was delivered specifically for the Agri-Retail staff in Glanbia branches on this occasion. Whereas pervious courses offered in the sector tended to be ‘function specific’, participants in the new programme in general are from a wide range of occupations including Agri-Retail Branch Managers, Production Supervisors, Plant Managers, Accounts Managers, Mill Managers, Shift Managers, Site Managers, Sales Managers, Maintenance Supervisors and Payroll Administrators.

This is designed to create a multi-disciplinary approach reflective of real organisational and business conditions.

Congratulating the award recipients, ICOS Vice-President Michael Spellman said, “The ICOS Skillnet management development programme is making an important contribution to the competitiveness of our industry. It supports talent development and creates competitive advantages for businesses by ensuring the availability of skilled managers and leaders for the future, based on best practice and strong business management principles.”

ICOS Skillnet is funded by Skillnet Ireland and member companies. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.