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An evaluation of training for farmer directors of co-operatives


SAOS developed and piloted a training programme designed for farmers holding non-executive directorships of agricultural co-operatives. A pilot course was held over five days in the Autumn of 2001. The course was funded by Scottish Enterprise Borders (SEB) and the European Social Fund. It aimed to provide skills for attendees in: roles and responsibilities of the Board; strategic business planning; interpreting financial data; marketing; managing change; communication; and managing people. The object of the study was to evaluate the benefits gained by the businesses as a result of the directors’ training.


A questionnaire was developed and each course attendee was interviewed individually. The results were then analysed. The report contains background information on each of the businesses represented on the course.


Five main benefits were identified as a result of the training course: improved understanding of the roles and responsibilities of directors and more focused Boards; improved strategic thinking and processes; corporate governance practices were reviewed and improved, leading to more robustness; external expertise was sought where the Boards’ skills were found to be lacking; and the course revitalised and raised the status of delegates. Additional benefits were: greater Board contribution towards member and stakeholder communication; establishment of new networks; and renewed enthusiasm from delegates for businesses holding Board appointments.


The following recommendations were made: the continued delivery of director training for farmers in the Borders should be continued; the availability of a consistent package of support throughout Scotland should be championed; and advanced development for co-operative directors should be supported.

Author Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) Ltd
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support, Support to existing/growth businesses
  • Sectors
    Food and drink
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Skills Development, Leadership/management development