Shaping Future Leaders

Shaping Future Leaders

06 October 2015

Public funding is under threat at the same time as the recession is impacting Third sector activity and fundraising. Change is therefore in the air and the third sector needs to respond to the new environment. 

The Trust, Ulster University and others are looking for third sector managers and leaders who have the mind-set and the ambition to learn new competencies and to engage with the new realities.

The Third Sector leader’s programme is specifically geared towards those managers and leaders who want to make change happen within the Third sector in Northern Ireland.

The programme is financially supported by Atlantic Philanthropies, Charity Bank, Big Lottery and the Building Change Trust and delivered by the Ulster University Business School (leading to the Ulster University Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Investment for the Third Sector award).

It is targeted at the Chief Executive, Finance Manager, Middle or Senior Manager/Leader, Trustee or Director within a Northern Ireland charity, voluntary or community organisation, or social enterprise and is designed to help strengthen financial management capabilities among participating organisations through enhanced knowledge and capability of leadership, strategy and business planning, sourcing finance, financial and social impact measurement, risk management, procurement, advocacy and financial stakeholder marketing. 

The programme also provides practical opportunities to learn from others as well as access to a network of like-minded third sector managers and leaders.   The total time commitment is therefore 2 days for induction and 13 days in Jordanstown, together with independent study time.

Key outputs from the programme would include the opportunity to revise organisational strategy and business planning; evaluation of, the income spectrum and debt and equity capital sources; financial forecasting; social capital measurement; impact assessment; risk register development; marketing pitch development and delivery; digital marketing; tendering best practice; advocacy and procurement best practice.

Dr. Brendan Murtagh, Reader in Urban Regeneration, Queens University Belfast said: “This is an exciting and innovative course that meets the challenges and opportunities facing the community and voluntary sector in the next decade.

“The programme offers participants an engaged model of developing their skills and knowledge but in a way that is directly applied to their work”.

Dr. Ken Logue, Programme Executive, The Atlantic Philanthropies, said: “A critical part of our strategy to build an enduring capacity is to help diversify support away from a sole reliance on government grants and support a number of social enterprise models that will build practices that offer more sustainable and effective solutions to age exclusion and that provide experiences, skills and knowledge to advocate with government, the sector and the business community.

“This is an exciting opportunity for those interested in looking at the opportunities in this area and to increase their knowledge and expertise”.

The Trust’s Director of Operations, Nigel McKinney, said: “The Investment Readiness Programme for the community and voluntary sector commissioned by Charity Bank from Ulster University is a timely and exciting initiative.

The programme content looking at procurement, sources of finance and other areas such as financial and social impact measurement are important areas to be considered now and into the future. Building Change Trust is pleased to be associated with this initiative and is confident that the programme will make a real contribution to the sustainability of the sector”.

The new cohort will commence in January 2016 therefore applications are now invited where participating students can avail of one of 25 bursaries, receiving up to £1750 financial support with attendees paying £500.

Further information on the programme can be found at or call Janette Sheerman, Course Director on 07718248921 email