UCC Adult courses

Diploma in Leadership for the Agri-Food Sector - Dip

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Diploma in Leadership for the Agri-Food Sector

  • Code


  • College

    Science, Engineering and Food Science, Adult Continuing Education

  • Duration

    1 year

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • NFQ Level

    Level 7

  • NFQ Award Title

    Special Purpose

  • Fees

    €4,700 per academic year - fees are collected by Macra Skillnet on acceptance onto the programme See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    21 January 2022

  • Next Intake

    January 2022

  • Venue


  • Start Date

    January 2022

Course Outline

The Diploma in Leadership for the Agri-Food Sector is designed to meet the career development needs of graduates working in this sectors SMEs, with particular focus on soft skills.

The course, now in its second year of delivery, is designed to provide recent graduates and high potential employees in Ireland’s agri-food SME sector with the transversal management and leadership skills required to enhance their early career performance and development. Significantly, the academic content of this programme has been developed specifically to meet the needs of the agriculture and food sector. Topics covered include team building, project management, communication & presentation skills, commercial acumen, decision making, business planning and LEAN.

The programme facilitates those individuals who wish to study part time and integrate their studies with their careers. Participants will attend ten two-day interactive workshops.

Due to Covid 19, the course may, due to adherence requirement to ongoing and future public health guidance, need to be delivered in blended format.

The course also includes the undertaking, by each student, of a relevant in-company project. This will enable each student to gain an in-depth appreciation of a topic of their choice, while also facilitating the students to apply what they are learning on the course for the benefit of their work place.

Course Practicalities

The Diploma is an intensive 60 credit programme delivered part-time over one year. Potential students should expect to devote 18-20 hours per week to workshops, project based learning, work based learning and self-directed study.

The core teaching will take place at 10x2 day workshops. These will take place at various locations throughout Ireland (Covid permitting) and students are expected to attend all workshops. Please note that in 2021-2022, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, online delivery of workshop materials may be necessary.

In addition to the workshops, participants will be expected to work in groups on module assignments and to conduct a project in their host company. This project will involve an identification, planning and delivery phase as well as the preparation of a comprehensive report.

Finally, students will complete a series of supported learning tasks between workshops.

Students complete 60 credits as follows:

FE1841 Team Building and Personal Effectiveness (10 credits)
FE1842 Food Business Planning (5 credits)
FE1843 Commercial Acumen in  Business (10 credits)
FS1821 Performance Management Principles for  Agri-Food Businesses (5 credits)
FS1822 Time Planning and Management (5 credits)
FS1827 Project Management Principles for Agri-Food Businesses (10 credits)
FS1829 Decision Making and Critical Analysis (5 credits)
FS1828 LEAN Principles for Agri-Food Businesses (5 credits)
FS1830 Introduction to Management Principles (5 credits)

Why Choose This Course

This course offers a unique opportunity for early career, high potential graduates to join a bespoke programme to develop their Leadership and Management potential. It is the first programme of its type to be developed in response to an industry need in the agri-food sector. The approach has been carefully developed to blend the acquisition of highly sought after transversal skills with tangible capabilities that can be immediately implemented in your organisation.

Skills and Careers Information

This course is for high potential early career graduates in the agri-food sector. The skills developed on this diploma will allow you to take control of accelerating your career and achieving real and meaningful impact. In addition, successful completion of this programme will confer eligibility on a range of related and progressive courses. 


Applications will be accepted from candidates who:

Hold a level 8 degree or equivalent in a food science, nutrition, engineering or science related discipline
Who are currently working in a food, agri-food or related organisation


Have a minimum of 3 years’ relevant work experience as deemed appropriate by the programme Academic Director
Who are currently working in a food, agri-food or related organisation

Note: Students will be primarily (though not exclusively) technical graduates from scientific or engineering disciplines with little or no previous exposure to the leadership, professional development and managerial disciplines proposed here.

Fees and Costs

€4,700 – Fees are collected separately in two instalments by Macra Agricultural Skillnet, in January 2022 and May 2022

How Do I Apply

During your online application you will be required to upload the following documents:

  • Birth Cert or Passport
  • Passport Photograph 
  • English Language Test Report [if applicable]
  • CV
  • Application Statement

Contact details for this course

Year 1 Modules

  • FE1841: Team Building and Personal Effectiveness (10 credits)
    Through participation and involvement this workshop will break down group barriers, develop communication between participants and integrate the class at their first meeting. Students will also have the opportunity to be exposed to the learning organisation that is University College Cork.
  • FE1842: Food Business Planning (5 credits)
    An analysis of the business planning process equips the participant with key skills such as: goal setting, establishing KPIs, resource allocation and project management. The participant is challenged to consider their role within the business structure and how their functional area and day-to-day activities contribute to achieving business objectives and drive the business forward.
  • FE1843: Commercial Acumen in Food Business (10 credits)
    Analysis of changing market demand and order levels (e.g. new product variants, increase/decrease in sales) impacts on business processes. In this regard we consider how market demand translates into orders and set out the key elements of sales, customer relationship management, customer service and order fulfilment processes.
  • FS1821: Performance Management Principles for Agri-Food Businesses (5 credits)
    Planning, managing and reviewing performance. Toolkit of performance assessments, including 360 Degree appraisal and feedback. Goal setting. Communication skills for managers and managing difficult conversations. Diagnosing poor performance, enhancing ability, skills and knowledge when this limits performance, root cause analysis, performance improvement plans.
  • FS1822: Time Planning and Management (5 credits)
    Monitoring time usage and creating and saving time. Effective organisation. Personal working rhythms. Delegation, Eisenhower matrices and prioritization. Time planning. The functions, roles and employee time records.
  • FS1827: Project Management Principles for Agri-Food Businesses (10 credits)
    This course will provide an introduction to the basic theories of project management. The course will describe the project management processes, and knowledge areas as well as the different project management methodologies that have emerged. The role of a project manager will be examined, and frequently used project management tools and documentation will be discussed.
  • FS1828: LEAN Principles for Agri-Food Businesses (5 credits)
    Introduction to Lean, origins and core principles. Examining value and the 8 wastes. The importance of engaging people in the practice of Lean. The use of Kaizen to drive improvement using both JDI, PDCA and DMAIC methods. Practical proven tools to help better diagnose causes of wastes. Tools to help identify the most effective ways to address the root causes of problems. Adoptoin planning.
  • FS1829: Decision Making and Critical Analysis (5 credits)
    Bias in decision-making, heuristics and making judgements. Individual versus group decision-making. Evidence basis for decisions - financial, time, resources, the decision-making process: pressing and strategic decisions. Evaluation of pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses. Decision implementation planning. Ethical decisions. Knowledge, judgement, vocabulary, strategy and mental habits that contribute to effective critical thinking and problem analysis.
  • FS1830: Introduction to Management Principles (5 credits)
    The roles, responsibilities, attitudes and behavious for successful management. Organisational structures and models of management in Agri-Food companies. Understanding your professional working style (DISC) and an introduction to the key perspectives and practices of successful agri-food managers including managing organisations and people. Building your management profile in a dynamic industry. Action learning and application of managerial theories in the workplace.

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact