IoD diploma brings new opportunities
(29 August 2007)
Durham Business School is giving senior business professionals the opportunity to study for an Institute of Directors qualification in bite-size modules.
Julie Lightfoot, Managing Director of Tyne Dock-based Solar Solve Marine, which manufactures screens and roller blinds to marine vessels worldwide, has recently completed the Institute of Directors (IoD) Diploma in Company Direction at Durham Business School. The unique IoD diploma, which can lead to participants gaining prestigious chartered director status, involves studying modules that give students the knowledge and awareness that are necessary to function effectively as a director. This year, in a slight change to last year’s programme, participants can sign-up on a module-by-module basis. The first two-day module, The Role of the Company Director and The Director and the Law, takes place over 13 and 14 September at Durham Business School. The Diploma was the perfect vehicle to propel Julie Lightfoot’s family business, which has provided over 70,000 anti-glare screens to vessels around the world. Almost 20 years after Solar Solve diversified to manufacture roller blinds to the niche market of safety screens for ships, Julie is looking to diversify again, as the business expands. Julie said: “The IoD Diploma has given me some vital tools to allow me to continue to run a successful business and to help it grow and prosper. I now have a greater understanding of how important corporate governance is and my legal responsibilities as a Director.” Requiring just 13 days of attendance at Durham Business School, the IoD Diploma in Company Direction is not time demanding and can easily fit around a busy work schedule. The programme encourages peer group support, challenge and stimulation, which mirrors life in the boardroom. Richard Whitaker, IoD Programme Manager said: “Dynamic and professional boards of directors and senior executives have a collective responsibility to ensure that each individual is effective, able to perform their duty and lead the organisation. The IoD Diploma is a sign that you lead a professional organisation and that has to be good news for your clients, customers and stakeholders.” It also presents a great opportunity for participants to network with other senior business professionals and the gaps between each module allows time for students to put the skills and knowledge they are accumulating into practice. Julie explained: “Course members came from a wide variety of backgrounds, expertise and experiences, from SMEs to public sector organisations and so networking opportunities with my peers were invaluable. “I gained lots of examples of personal ‘real life experiences’ from them and it’s refreshing to learn that many businesses, whether private or public sector, have similar issues to contend with.” Durham Business School is the only institution within the North East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire to offer the qualification. As part of the Diploma, delegates also have the opportunity to run a virtual organisation as its board in a three-day ‘Developing Board Performance’ exercise. The programme has enabled Julie to make far-reaching changes and improvements to her business. Julie said: “The procedure for holding board meetings and the content of the meetings themselves has become much more structured and constructive, with more focus on the future than the day-to-day issues and the past. I’m also more aware of the interests of other stakeholders, such as staff, customers and suppliers. “The Diploma is intense, but thoroughly interesting an enjoyable. I’ve no doubt that I can apply everything I’ve learned to my own business as I take it forward.” For more information about the diploma or individual modules, contact Richard Whitaker, Programme Manager, on 0191 334 5281 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Vicky Welsh on 0191 334 5548, email@example.com.