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Training Professional Managers

The Aston Professional Managers' Award continues to raise the skill level of the UK’s emerging managers and young professionals


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As the economy begins to open up in the wake of the pandemic, re-building and stimulating growth will depend on high-quality business leadership and management at all levels. Yet a recent joint report from the UK’s Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and Institute of Directors (IoD) has highlighted a ‘crisis in management’.

With 98% of managers and 95% of directors saying that enhancing management and leadership skills are critical to improving organizational performance in the coming financial year, the report found that:

  1. The UK is lagging behind rivals when it comes to leadership.
  2. Sustainable growth depends on closing the UK’s productivity gap.
  3. Better leadership is needed to build organizational skills and resilience.

A highly successful, long-running program at Aston University offers hope. The Aston Professional Managers' Award prepares emerging managers and young professionals for a transition to more senior leadership roles. Enhancing basic skills and introducing new ideas around leading in the digital age, it enables them to take the crucial next step up in their careers, while also delivering measurable impact to their organizations.

The program, aimed at the next generation of business leaders, provides a research-based understanding of the latest concepts and fundamental principles in key management disciplines: strategy, operations, finance, people management, project management and marketing. Crucially, it focuses on the practical application of these principles and how they can inform better decision-making at work.

Understanding how corporate finance, operations, marketing, HR, and other functions work in a business, and then how the business sits in the wider competitive environment is central to having a comprehensive understanding of any business.

The Aston Professional Managers' Award, by providing greater insight into these business strands and focusing on how to make difficult decisions in a cross-functional context, helps participants become more effective in their existing management roles, and offers a valuable foundation for progress to more senior positions.

The Aston Experience

As a member of the Aston community, program participants benefit from a heritage of over thirty years’ successful professional management development delivered to thousands of individuals from hundreds of organizations of all sizes and all sectors, and from learning provided by a team of educators chosen for their real-world commercial experience and wide international background.

During the pandemic, the program has been successfully run in an online format, consisting of six online modules, each with four 3-hour sessions over a two-week period. Delivered through the Aston University Virtual Learning Environment, it enables participants to be fully immersed in each module and to work in virtual breakout groups with peers, even while it is delivered remotely. This very effectively replicates the full learning experience traditionally offered when run face to face on campus. Plus, as each session is recorded, it provides welcome flexibility, so that participants unable to attend a session for any reason, can catch up ahead of the next session.

If as the CMI/IoD report suggests there really is a crisis in UK management, the hope must lie with the next generation of business leaders and in the quality of training and executive development they receive. Aston University has this focus—offering executive learning that is based on leading edge thinking and research but firmly rooted in the practical and applicable. 

A recent recipient of the Aston Professional Managers' Award confirms this, saying, “The Finance workshop gave me a real-world view of finance, broke down a lot of concepts to give me the confidence to participate and contribute to areas of our business I previously steered clear of.”

Over 50 years of pioneering commitment to research, teaching and enterprise has made Aston internationally renowned for delivering local and global impact. We have a bold vision for collaboration with our clients, creating and sharing the vital knowledge that helps them tackle their most pressing real-world challenges.

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