Top managers at NACCO Materials Handling Group (NMHG) at Craigavon are pioneering an innovative management development scheme designed to increase capability and ensure growth in a highly competitive global market through continuous improvement throughout the plant, Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development Services, said today.

Speaking at the launch of the NMHG’s new MSc Senior Management Programme, she said: “This important initiative will also help to support efforts to establish Craigavon as the US group’s main European production plant following the recently announced £33 million expansion.

“The dedication of the management team to the latest best practice techniques, combined with the group’s longstanding commitment to investment in manufacturing technology, ensures that its products are globally competitive; that it is able to seize new opportunities within the group and positions the Craigavon operation to meet the growing challenge from lower cost manufacturing regions.

“NHMG has a deeply rooted and successful culture of employee development at Craigavon that has been recognised in the achievement of Investors in People accreditation and National Training Awards. The MSc initiative is a further development of this impressive commitment.

“This programme, which has been shaped to suit the specific needs of the management team, reflects Invest NI’s client focus and commitment to a flexible approach to measures that will strengthen the capability of individuals and the overall team. Our objective is to help to ensure the continuing success of an export-led engineering business that makes a very significant contribution to Craigavon and the wider Northern Ireland economy.”

Backed by Invest NI, the NMHG programme is delivered by Kiang, a Northern Ireland management consultancy company, and is based on the MSc in Management from Sheffield’s Hallam University. The NMHG participants are continuously assessed by university staff and on successful completion of the course will receive the MSc degree in Management.

David Raymond, Kiang’s Chief Executive, said: “The MSc programme is geared to busy managers who receive mentoring on a week by week basis in the plant. In a rapidly changing and challenging environment they will benefit directly from a flexible and current best practice management development programme geared to their specific needs.”

Alan Little, NMHG Plant Manager at Craigavon and 16 members of the management team are taking part in the programme. The company is also implementing an Invest NI-backed Company Development Programme.