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The recent worldwide financial crisis has clearly indicated that there is an urgent need to improve the effectiveness of company boards. This can only be achieved when all board members, together with shareholders, employees and other stakeholders, truly understand their roles and responsibilities.

For over 10 years the Institute of Directors (IoD) have been offering a highly regarded professional programme of qualifications which are designed to provide Directors, aspiring Directors, and Non Executive Directors of private and public companies (and indeed of non corporate private and public sector organisations such as the armed forces, the police and local authorities) with the knowledge and tools they need to be able to provide effective direction (rather than management) to their organisations.

The Certificate in Company Direction

The first level qualification is the Certificate in Company Direction, which covers the core issues faced by every director. These include:

  • An in-depth view of the role, responsibilities and legal duties of a director 
  • An understanding of the characteristics of an effective board 
  • Sound knowledge of financial terms and concepts  
  • Effective marketing strategies  
  • Human resources and employment law  
  • Leading and directing change  
  • The issues and processes associated with formulating strategic and business plans and achieving strategic leadership. 

The skills and knowledge taken away from this programme can be readily applied back in the attendees business to improve the quality of decision making and the overall dynamic of the Board with a positive impact on the bottom line.

The Certificate is awarded after examination and entitles successful candidates to use the post-nominal letters Cert IoD.

The Diploma in Company Direction

Following successful completion of the Certificate in Company Direction candidates may progress to the Diploma level.

The Diploma aims to ensure that, in a range of challenging and realistic situations, delegates integrate and apply their learning from the Certificate when making decisions that affect the running of an organisation.

The Diploma builds on the Certificate with candidates proving that they can synthesize the separately/functionally introduced elements of the Certificate and apply them appropriately, to make sound decisions, in a corporately responsible manner. In so doing, the module makes delegates aware of the need to identify and balance the risks associated with courses of action, whilst maintaining an ethos, which is entrepreneurial and creative. The focus of the module is the individual director in the context of their board role. Successfully passing the examination allows the use of the post-nominal description Dip IoD.

Chartered Director

Having successfully completed the Certificate and Diploma examinations enables candidates to progress to ultimate “gold standard” of becoming a Chartered Director.

Unlike many professional organisations the accolade of being “Chartered” is not just a matter of passing examinations.

To the IoD passing exams is just the first stage and to become a Chartered Director requires candidates to prove that they do not only know the theory but have, for a number of years, been able to demonstrate that they have applied that theory in real life.

Currently only some 10% of those who have achieved Dip IoD status have been able to demonstrate that they are worthy to become Chartered Directors and use the post-nominal style CDir. It is not a qualification given out easily (says he as someone who is a Chartered Director).

In all honesty I can tell you that the process of preparing a portfolio of evidence to support my application and then being orally examined on that portfolio was even more intensive than the viva I went through to get my PhD.

Is It Worth the Money?

No matter what size of business you are running the benefits of the IoD programme are immediate and long lasting both from an organisational and personal development perspective. It isn’t cheap but neither is it particularly expensive at around £7,000 depending on whether you are an IoD member or not. (If not – why not?) Frankly having considered some MBA and MSc programmes as well as the Diploma I decided that the Diploma was not only more relevant but also better value for money. I do not regret that decision.

The Programme is delivered throughout the British Isles by a number of providers including Leeds Metropolitan University, the University of Salford, Loughborough University, University of Exeter, University of Glamorgan, Jersey International Business School & the Isle of Man International Business School.

For more information contact the Institute of Directors on 020 7766 2601 or by email.

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