Ulster University and Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster team up for innovative new course

From left - Martin Rodgers, Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster; Emma Curistan, Finnebrogue Artisan; and Dr Lynsey Hollywood, Food and Drink Business Development Centre, Ulster University
From left - Martin Rodgers, Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster; Emma Curistan, Finnebrogue Artisan; and Dr Lynsey Hollywood, Food and Drink Business Development Centre, Ulster University

ULSTER University Business School is partnering with Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) to launch a new programme to help develop farming leaders of the future.

It comes as the north's £5 billion agri-food sector deals with the challenges and opportunities arising from Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic and the newly proposed Future Agricultural Policy Framework.

Its new advanced certificate in Management Practice (Developing Leaders in Agri-Food) will provide aspiring farmers with the latest thinking on the principles of leading and managing an agri-food business in today’s fast-changing environment.

The seven-day postgraduate course will be delivered by staff from the Food and Drink Business Development Centre at Ulster University Business School.

The programme, which costs £2,572, has been developed in partnership with the YFCU, ensuring it meets the needs of current and aspiring leaders working in farming or agri-food production.

Course director Professor Barry Quinn, who is Professor of Retail Marketing at Ulster University Business School said: “Today’s agri-food industry is facing a number of challenges relating to crisis management, changes in consumer tastes and the introduction of new technologies.

“Our new programme addresses these challenges by equipping future leaders within the industry with the knowledge and skills increasingly required to innovate, succeed and thrive in a highly competitive and fast changing marketplace.

“Through effective leadership, a competitive food industry can help the Northern Ireland economy to grow in the post-Covid business environment.”

YFCU chief executive Michael Reid added: “It has been exciting to work with Ulster University Business School to bring this much needed leadership qualification to the table.

“A chance for future leaders in the agri and agri food Industry to undertake relevant hands on study in Northern Ireland is finally here with the support and foresight of many in YFCU and DAERA”.

The programme is practical and interactive, using insight from case studies and expertise from inspirational thought leaders working within the agri-food industry including Jack Hamilton, chief financial officer at Mash Direct and Alan Gibson, chief compliance officer at Devenish Nutrition.

Participants will also benefit from best practice field trips to showcase how leading local agri-food players have diversified, innovated and grown highly successful businesses through strong and effective leadership.

Leading UK artisan food producers Finnebrogue Artisan, will provide key insights on the leadership and management of some of its brands, including its nitrite-free Naked Bacon and The Good Little Company sausage brands.

Emma Curistan, head of development for M&S at Finnebrogue Artisan, said: “We make food the best it can be without being bound by the way it has been done. Our late founder Denis Lynn was a true visionary. He put innovation at the heart of everything we do in our business. We are delighted to share our knowledge and expertise with aspiring leaders in the agri-food sector via this innovative new course.”

Participants on the course will also gain insight into key market trends and access to Ulster University Business School’s new Consumer Insight Lab, which houses two Virtual Reality retail stores used to understand consumer buying behaviour.

For more information on the course and how to apply visit: