Education Provider - Driving up skills and improving delivery

Providing CMI qualifications along-side the academic ones gives students an alternative route. The two types of qualification work well together.

Richard Whitaker
Durham College

Back ground

Durham Business School runs one of CMI’s successful qualifications centres and offers the Institute’s qualifications in parallel with its own. The Diploma in Management programme, based on the Institute’s qualification, for example, is also a Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Development. The majority of Durham’s candidates take only the Institute qualification, but achieving the Diploma allows candidates to enter Durham’s Executive Masters programme. Similarly, CMI’s Executive Diploma runs alongside Durham’s Executive Masters in Enterprise Management and both follow the same syllabus through the Postgraduate Certificate and on to the postgraduate Diploma stage.

Why this works

As the Institute’s programmes run together with Durham’s, they’re subject to both the University's and the Institute's Quality Assurance processes, so their quality

is maintained by constant evaluation. Programme Director Richard Whitaker attributes much of the business school’s success to this. He also finds that providing the Chartered Management Institute qualifications alongside the academic ones gives students an alternative route:

"The two types of qualification work well together”, he’s says.

"This approach of combining qualifications also helps with programme promotion, as the benefits of both sets of qualifications can be stressed."

"The attraction of the Institute’s qualifications is increased by their positioning as an entry to other programmes."

Programme delivery

Durham Business School’s standard mode of delivery is via interactive workshops and the delivery materials for the programmes are of a high quality. These materials are also used for promotional purposes and Richard stresses their importance as one of the Centre’s key success factors. Others he highlights are the quality of the business school’s staff, taking good care of customers (i.e., the students), the business school’s high reputation and its flexible approach.

Flexibility is also particularly important, Richard suggests, in coping with the varying issues that students may have. Time and work pressures, for example, are recurring problems for mature, working students, and can lead to missed workshops, or difficulties in completing assignments on time. Durham is also flexible in terms of its capacity to adapt qualification programmes and run tailored courses dedicated to the needs of particular organisations.

On the basis of Durham Business School’s experience to date, Richard’s suggestions for other Centres that want to lift their success levels are:

  • be more creative in the materials for, and mode of, your programme delivery
  • hire people who are good at delivery
  • ensure that your facilities are of an acceptable standard
  • support your students