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The Agri-food sector is growing, with sustainability at the fore

Posted on: 23 Feb 2018

The Agri-food sector is growing, with sustainability at the fore

Graduates of the MSc Co-operatives, Agri-food and Sustainable Development will be able to directly address these issues in our new programme focussed on sustainability and agri-business.

The agri-food sector is growing, and with it, a range of sustainability considerations have come to the fore. In this and other industries, environmental sustainability is no longer seen just in aspirational terms but is closely linked to the evolving policy environment and growing market opportunities such as Origin Green. These legislative imperatives and market developments create opportunities in terms of consultancy and compliance advice, social and environmental auditing and corporate social responsibility.

Organisations favour experience/ practical skills when recruiting but in our particular case, policy and research is important too.  Sustainable food production requires its own distinctive business model. This MSc equips students with a great range of workforce requirements - it gets the balance rightt

Emma Walls, Commercial Director Glenisk

Graduates of the MSc Co-operatives, Agri-food and Sustainable Development will be able to directly address these issues in our new programme focussed on sustainability and agri-business.

Students will also undertake skills based modules for management and marketing such as work placement, project management and digital marketing.

In 2018 the Department of Food Business and Development at Cork University Business School is re-launching their long-standing Masters programme. With over 1,000 graduates working across the development sector from agriculture to international NGOs, it was time for an update for this programme which first started in 1991.

The existing programme has now undergone a redesign intended to modernise it and adapt to changing market demands and expectations. Following extensive consultation with students, alumni and industry, the MSc Co-operatives, Agri-food and Sustainable Development is now a 1 year course grounded in business principles and with a renewed emphasis on current issues, in particular, sustainable development.

Considering the size of the co-operative and social enterprise sectors, our new Masters programme is uniquely relevant to those seeking to move into management with a strong grasp of the evolving policy environment.

The emphasis is very much on developing an understanding of collaborative management within the food system and the rural socio-economic system. Management in this sector requires a broad understanding as well as a range of technical skills.

In terms of the food system, this wider understanding helps the student to gain the ability to identify business gaps and opportunities and points of leverage to help more vulnerable players in the system. The sustainability framework is also closely tied to compliance and development in the Agri-food sector.

The rural system grounds the programme in the socio-economic sustainability of local communities. This helps the student to understand and critique contemporary social, economic and environmental based strategies of local urban and rural development.

Potential employers - from large food enterprises and co-ops, medium-sized food organisations, rural development, policy and enterprise sectors were all positive about the proposed programme, emphasising in particular the importance of the placement and the need to increase practical skills.

This masters, with its combination of sustainability, co-operation and agri-food, is very relevant for the artisan food sector, as well as the wider food industry. It addresses the key challenges facing food businesses; particularly competitiveness, increasing regulation and environmental sustainability and the focus on co-operation is very welcome. To thrive, the Irish food industry needs collaboration and we need people with skills in this area. There will be significant employment opportunities for graduates of this masters.”

Eamonn Lonergan, Director, Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese Ltd

The MSc Co-operatives, Agri-food and Sustainable Development is aimed at both Irish and international students, who may also benefit from exposure to the European market. 

Explore the career opportunities available:

  • Co-operative development professionals, consultants and policy advisors
  • Rural development professionals, consultants and policy advisors
  • Community development and social inclusion professionals
  • Local economic development/enterprise development staff through local authorities and consultancies
  • Food marketing, branding and compliance staff for new sustainability requirements
  • Corporate social responsibility roles in food and other industries.     

Full programme information

 

 

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