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Nine council officers have swapped their office for the classroom.

Hambleton District Council has entered into a unique partnership with Teesside University to develop a programme that will lead the officers to a Masters degree.

District Council Chief Executive, Dr Justin Ives, said it is important to invest in the officers leading the council forward.

“We are investing heavily in our management – the people who will lead the council over the coming years,” he said.

“We work in an increasingly complex and changing business world and it is vital our team is able to respond to that.  We are delighted that Teesside has been able to facilitate this programme.”

For the next 12 months the seven managers and two directors will spend up to two days a month at the university’s Darlington campus on the Institute of Management and Leadership ‘coaching supervision and beyond’ course.   It will give them a Level 7 diploma, the qualification to act as a coach mentor – and the stepping stone towards a Masters degree.

“We believe this programme is the first of its kind to draw together the practical qualification from the institute to provide a degree,” said Course Tutor, Jeff Matthews.

“What sets this programme apart is the opportunity to reflect on real situations, and learn from them real time, rather than taking an abstract Masters degree. We will be grappling with real complex issues, and applying the theory and our learning to them, rather than the other way round.”

Dr Susan Laing, Dean of Teesside University Business School, added: “This programme to develop senior managers for Hambleton District Council is exactly the sort of initiative that Teesside University Business School wants to be involved with.

“We pride ourselves on our ability to work with businesses and organisations to deliver the knowledge and skills to their employees that will help them become more efficient and competitive.  This course offers the students a real opportunity to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom and deliver tangible improvements in their workplace which will ultimately benefit the residents of Hambleton.”