The candidates have all embarked on the Cranfield Fellowship in Manufacturing Management for the Red Meat Industry, an accelerated management development programme, designed by RMIF in partnership with Cranfield University, Cambridge University and The Danish Meat Trade College.
The pragmatic, modular course is based on Cranfield University's existing Fellowship in Manufacturing Management and combines top-class management training with red meat industry technical training.
"Part of our work has always been to provide meat industry businesses with the tools to implement positive change," said Paul Jose, "But we realised that in order to make real improvements, we need to train people from the businesses themselves, so that they can drive change from within."
The course, which has been in development for two years, covers topics from strategic management to slaughtering and lean production to deboning. "We start with personal effectiveness and business strategies," said Jose. "In order to manage efficiently and implement change among others, the candidates must first understand themselves."
The intense schedule, involving psychometric tests and market analysis, has not fazed the candidates so far. "It has been really interesting," said Rizvan Khalid, business development manager for Euro Quality Lambs. "A lot of the skills they have taught us so far are things we already possess. They have just shown us to access and apply them."
The group represents a diverse range of businesses - from small to large - and a wide range of skills - from business graduates to butchers who have been in the industry since leaving school. For all of them, however, the course offers a fast track towards becoming high-achieving leaders of change.
"I am really pleased with the breadth of the course. It is really an all-round qualification, not just one that deals with the nitty-gritty," said Wayne Holmes of wholesale butcher Aubrey Allen. "It is also a great opportunity to network and gain contacts that will enable us to drive the industry forward together."