NZIM : Meeting the management market – Building capability

There is currently good deal of emphasis on the importance of building management and business capability. For example, several key government agencies have specific goals in this area.
NZIM’s response to this demand is to focus on the importance of good learning outcomes which in turn lead to relevant individual qualifications that meet the skill and development needs of the New Zealand economy.
We are professional membership organisation dedicated to improving management competence and capability through education, management development, knowledge, research and advocacy.
Effective education and training is one of the ways by which we can achieve our goals. To this end NZIM has for many years developed and maintained key programmes in foundation business and specialist education and training.
A 2005 Business New Zealand survey of 1100 businesses suggested that there was “a low rate of employer satisfaction with the entire tertiary education sector”, while the private training providers “are consistently highly valued by employers”. Most highly valued was in-house training. Other research, from both England and New Zealand, indicates management courses run through tertiary providers have little effect on business and management competence.
These pieces of research indicate that universities and polytechnics may not be the most appropriate providers of business and management training for those actually in work. Qualifications like those offered by NZIM, that typically have few days of intensive facilitation, together with workplace training and supervision and major workplace project, are more in tune with business needs.
One of the toughest markets to serve is the training of small business managers and profiles of many of the courses being offered indicate that the main participants in those courses are aspiring small business owners. Overseas research indicates that the best programmes for small business proprietors have three elements: action research that meets the defined needs of the participant, mentoring, and support group of small businesses.
Research conducted by Massey University indicates that small businesses rank mentoring as the most effective way of improving small business success, but few businesses are able to access mentoring in consistent way. Attempts to run such programmes through polytechnics in New Zealand have met with little success. Yet in other countries these courses have been extremely successful. These programmes are effective, but meet few of the requirements in New Zealand for funding or criteria to measure effectiveness.

Effectiveness
NZIM does not see qualifications as ends in themselves but as means to developing management competence and leadership potential in organisations. They are not valuable in and of themselves but as vehicle for personal and professional development.
The measures of effectiveness of NZIM programmes include:
•The value to the organisation of the training programme.
•The value of the learning experience itself for the participant.
This effectiveness is measured through:
•Feedback throughout the course, from participants and client organisations.
•Formal post-course feedback from clients.
•Repeat business and new business.

Benchmarked
NZIM has long been an advocate of developing appropriate standards in management, against which people, organisations and courses can be benchmarked. We have taken part in discussions around the development of the Australian business services packages and initial management standards developed in England.
NZIM considers that the unit standards framework is not sufficient or appropriately developed to meet management needs or challenges.
Consequently we are developing set of management standards and benchmarking criteria based around model that is compatible to international standards. This model will form the basis for range of assessment and business evaluation tools, as well as providing criteria for NZIM course development and delivery. The model was featured in the July issue of Management magazine.

Points of Difference
One of NZIM’s major strengths is that it operates in ways that are more effective and client friendly than other programmes. Many of the programmes are unique, and where they are not, they are provided in ways that differ greatly not only from universities and polytechnics but also from most other private training establishments.
This is summary of the general points of difference between NZIM internal qualifications and those offered by other tertiary education providers:
•Able to provide qualifications to major companies on national basis.
•Able to be delivered as part of overseas packages to international companies – because several qualifications are the same as or equivalent to Australian qualifications, NZIM can deliver to meet Australian contracts in New Zealand.
•Course content directly relevant to the workplace – often customised to meet specific work requirements.
•Organised and provided in ways directly applicable to workplace learning – including through workplace supervision and coaching, action research, mentoring.
•Content and delivery processes determined through widespread consultation with organisations and stakeholders.
•Qualifications focused on management skills to meet specific requirements, rather than knowledge of the specialist area.
•Qualifications focused on high level management skills – our diplomas are NZQA level 5 and level 6 qualifications.
•Internally coherent – parts of the qualification are developed according to coherent set of criteria, framework and order.
•Not unit standards based – this is perceived as an advantage in an area where there are few relevant unit standards, and the unit standards are generally at lower level.
•Linked to other qualifications and learning pathways – alignments are made with courses provided by other tertiary providers, both in New Zealand and internationally.

In conclusion
NZIM makes considerable contribution, at governmental, professional, industrial and individual levels to the improvement of business capability through the development of better management practices in New Zealand.
A major aspect of NZIM’s work involves the provision of high quality and appropriate work-based training to meet identified needs or business segments. If you want to know more go to www.nzim.co.nz.

David Chapman is national chief executive of the New Zealand Institute of Management.

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