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Advance Business Programme Cork and Limerick (Certified)- Coming Soon!

Advance Business Programme Cork and Limerick (Certified)- Coming Soon!

ISME Skillnet and Griffith College are proud to present our partnered Certified Advance Business Programme QQI Level 7 special award.  The primary focus is on developing practical skills beneficial in successfully running an SME in Ireland. Learning is transferred to the company through the completion of an in-company improvement project. All participants complete an improvement project in their own company under the guidance of a project supervisor.


On completion of the course the learner will be able to:

  • Apply modern management principles and practices to business disciplines such as human resource management, financial management, operations management and marketing.
  • Employ strategic analysis and planning across a variety of business areas to enhance and improve the performance of a small or medium enterprise.
  • Exercise appropriate judgement after analysis and reflection in applying tools and techniques to analyse business problems and propose solutions in small or medium enterprises.
  • Work independently and as part of the management team in the analysis, and interpretation of data in order to propose solutions, employ best practice tools and techniques to specific business problems to enhance individual and team performance to benefit business.
  • Critically review their own performance in terms of time management and planning in order to effect improvements.
  • Ensure professional and ethical business practices are pursued by the company, demonstrating insight into the social and community contexts within which the business operates.

Course Content

Module 1: Management, practice and principles

  • Introduction to the principles of Management; Concepts and Theories
  • Management Styles: Administrative, Bureaucratic, Human Relations and Scientific
  • Identifying team roles and understanding the importance of a balanced team: Belbin theory
  • Conflict in teams: Illustration of methods of overcoming conflict
  • Comparing managers with leaders: Management and leadership characteristics and styles
  • Identifying management and leadership styles and their impact
  • Data Protections environment

Module 2: Strategic Analysis

  • Company Vision and Purpose: What business are we in? What are the needs of our customers? How do we add value? Porter’s generic strategies
  • Analysis Cycle: Analysis, Choice, Implementation and Review
  • Environmental Analysis: PESTLE / Change forces
  • Competitive Analysis: Porter’s five
  • Identifying opportunities: Market research and competitor research
  • Risk Assessment: Investment versus return
  • Identification of suitable project for improvement / change: Further reflection in company

Module 3: Effective Communications and Negotiation Techniques

  • Communication: Definition, barriers, assertiveness, social styles
  • Conflict: The conflict cycle, appropriate interventions for each stage
  • Negotiation: Negotiation techniques, broken squares exercises, x and y game, role play

Module 4: Financial Management

  • The integrated Financial Model: Where finance comes from and goes to; shareholders, loans, retained, working capital, fixed capital, profit and loss
  • The Working Capital Cycle: Creditors, raw materials, WIP, finished goods, debtors
  • Financial Statement: The structure and meaning of Financial Statements; Profit and Loss accounts, Balance sheet, Cash Flow
  • Financial Ratios: A selections of ratios and how the information can be used in company and competitor analysis
  • Cost and profit centres: Costing, activity based costing
  • Regulatory requirements

Module 5: Operations Management

  • Problem Solving: Brain Storming, Mind maps, Five whys, Ishikawa Diagram
  • Continuous Improvement: Define, measure, analyse, control, improve
  • Best Practice: What are the principles of WCM and SCM
  • Improvement tools and techniques: FMEA and other tools and techniques from WCM and SCM
  • Outsourcing: Steps to outsourcing: the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing

Module 6: Practical Marketing

  • Introduction to Marketing: Developing a marketing operation
  • The Marketing Process: 4Ps, Product life cycle, marketing services
  • Target audience and accessing new markets Unique Selling Point: Segmenting the marketplace for SMEs: Profiling. Blue Ocean vs Red Ocean Strategy; Communicating the USP
  • Marketing Research: Research techniques; Sources of Information; Processing Customer feedback / Data Analysis
  • Digital Marketing
  • Data Protection policies

Module 7: Human Resource Management

  • HR  Policy, practices and procedures
  • Industrial Relations; What it is; examples / case studies, Best practice procedures
  • Employment legislation: Best practice procedures
  • Employee handbooks: Content; template
  • Health and Safety: Introduction to requirements under Health and Safety on the Work Place Act
  • Data protection policies

Module 8: Strategic Planning

  • Strategic Choice: Rationale for strategic plan in relation to PESTLE and Porter’s 5 analysis
  • Strategic Implementation: Proposed implementation strategy for company, encompassing aspects developed in earlier modules (e.g. finance, marketing etc.)
  • Pilot Implementation: Initial plans, reflections on progress made, lessons learned
  • Benefits of Strategic Planning: Clear definitions, communications, ownership and resources
  • When should strategic planning be done? Start-up stages, growth or new product/market development, annual strategy
  • Presentation Information: Summarising keys points, lessons learned, learning to learn


This Special Purpose Level 7 programme is delivered using a tool box approach, including a combination of formal lectures, small work groups, discussion of case studies and practical exercises. The teaching methodology pays special attention to problem based learning techniques. The small class and group sizes facilitate engagement  by all participants. Course materials are provided, avoiding the need for candidates to engage in excessive note taking. Additional support material is made available via Moodle in relation to taught units and to assist participants in developing their particular strategic plan.

In advance of each unit, each participant on the programme will be contacted by the Programme Director to invite them to submit any issues they would like to address in the coming workshops.

On this programme each candidate will be appointed a specific project supervisor for the duration of the programme. The project supervisor will be responsible for engaging with the learner to achieve a practical development plan.


Participants who successfully complete the company improvement project and related report and presentation are eligible for certification to achieve a Special Purpose QQI Level 7 award.

Who Should Attend?

Candidates are welcome any industry with any level of experience; however, candidates who are at a senior level within their business and can implement their training within their business will gain the most out of this course.


  • Seeking Expressions of Interest. Please contact skillnet@isme.ie or 01-662-2755 for booking enquirers. 


ISME Members €1650, Non Members €1895.


  • Griffith College Cork, Wellington Road, Cork.
  • Griffith College Limerick, O’Connell Avenue, Limerick City, Limerick.

Booking Essential

Contact ISME Skillnet on (01) 6622755 or skillnet@isme.ie to register your interest in this course.

Members please log in to avail of your discount


ISME Skillnet