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Learning and leadership

It’s been eight months since the 12th intake of the SELECT Effective Manager Programme began their studies at Napier University in Edinburgh. In the latest update on their progress, we find out how they’re finding life in the classroom – and answer some common questions about the course

After starting the Effective Manager Programme in September last year, our current intake

of students have now submitted their first written plans and reports.

Key to the programme is that these students take something they learned and try it out back at work, and then write about their learning from this.

I’m pleased to say the current students have once again submitted some fantastic reports covering areas such as their communication skills, how they support staff with stress at work and how they have better one-to-one discussions with their team members. The assignments are all very practical in nature.

Feedback from the students also continues to be very positive. Here are some comments from people who are now mid-way through the course.

One student said: “I’ve really enjoyed all of the module’s content. I already feel I’m a better project manager from the learning I’ve experienced to date.”

Another student said: “The teaching has been amazing – all the workshop leaders have provided valuable content which I’m already implementing in my workplace.”

And a third learner revealed: “If you haven’t been on a university course before it can feel a little daunting, but you do get used to it and the resources and support provided are really good.”

As programme leader, I’m constantly uplifted by the effort the students go to in trying new things out, and encouraged by the tangible results they gain from their efforts. They also seem to really enjoy it, and we try to provide a supportive learning environment where people can feel free to ask any questions or raise any concerns.

If you’re interested in joining the next course, please contact SELECT Training by calling 0131 445 5577 or email to see if you’re eligible.


Effective Manager Programme: FAQs

I’ve never been on a university course before – will I have to write long essays?

Not on this one! The written work for this programme is all in the form of plans and reports that encourage students to write clearly and concisely about what they have done and learned. The most we ask you to write at a time is 1,000 words, and some students say the main problem is keeping within this word count, rather than not having enough to write about.

I don’t have any previous university qualifications; can I still apply?

It’s not necessary to have any qualifications from a university to apply for this course. If you’ve completed an apprenticeship, or have an HND or equivalent, then you’re eligible to apply.

We also take applications from people who don’t have any formal qualifications at all, but who have enough management experience to participate fully in the programme. All applications are looked at on their own merit.

Does it involve sitting through lots of lectures?

Most people assume that because it’s a university course, you’ll just be sitting and listening to ‘academics’ speak. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. All the tutors have done or do real jobs and most have their own businesses. The emphasis is on really practical things that you can think about and try out back at work. There are nine workshops in the programme and each one covers a different topic of management, such as effective communication or managing change. They are run in a really interactive way, so students learn as much from each other as they do from the tutors; ensuring we get students to share their experiences is really important.

What type of people usually sign up for the programme?

There has been a wide variety of people through the programme. Some of our students started out as apprentices then worked their way up and are now managing others. Some students run their own businesses and want to ensure their management skills are current and effective. We’ve had engineers, project managers, contracts managers and site managers through our programme in the past.

We’ve also had some office staff – such as office managers, supervisors, finance and HR – who also feel they could improve their management skills. The age of our students varies too; we’ve had students from their early 20s right up to early 60s who all get a real benefit. The mix of backgrounds and ages gives a really varied mix of experiences which leads to some great discussions during the workshops.

[Pictured back row l-r: Glenn Kippen - Unite Security & Electrical, Paul McGuire – Morris & Spottiswood, Ian Hamilton – Arthur McKay, Kevin Smillie – John Heaney Electrical Services,Sean Coleman – M-Pact, Liam MacLeod – NES North, Scott McLean – Stirling Electrical Services, Adam Ronald – Atalian Servest AMK, Jack McGinley – VWS, James Perrin – Morris & Spottiswood, Richard Dingwall – Bell Fire & Security.

Front row l-r: Kirsty Hughes – Bell Fire & Security, Alan Ramage – Midlothian Council, Catherine Thompson – Napier tutor/ workshop leader ]

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