Leaders for Change: Level 9 Accredited Leadership Programme, Now Enrolling

Educational Pathway for Nonprofits

The National College of Ireland, in conjunction with The Wheel and Quality Matters, have developed an innovative series of certificate programmes to meet the specific needs of the nonprofit sector. These Level 9 programmes offers you shorter professional courses in key areas of nonprofit management. Programmes are suitable for senior and developing nonprofit leaders.

These programmes have been developed by National College of Ireland, The Wheel and Quality Matters working with the sector to match its emerging needs. The pace of change in the sector will only quicken and we believe it is essential for leaders in the sector to upgrade their knowledge and skills.

Currently available courses listed below.

Leaders for Change: Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership & Management

Location:  IFSC Campus

Duration:  1 year
NFQ Level: Certificate
This Level 9 Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management is an applied programme, aimed at improving specific, managerial and leadership competencies for managers and executives in Irish nonprofit organisations. The course combines academic evidence-based practices with practitioner-led knowledge and skills. The faculty are drawn from academia and from qualified senior managers/CEOs who work within capacity building and research organisations within the nonprofit sector in Ireland and internationally.
The course will focus on very specific and emerging managerial issues in the sector, which are not generally found in conventional MA/MSc/MBA programmes, other than those which focus exclusively on the nonprofit sector. Learners receive very specific 360-degree feedback on their own leadership behaviours as seen by their peers, colleagues, direct reports etc. using a validated instrument.
The managerial portions of the programme (10 of 15 ECTS) addresses, in a foundational way, many of the contemporary issues faced by Irish managers in the nonprofit sector. Topics and skills such as reflective practice, conflict management, emotional intelligence at work, nonprofit governance, managing culture, HR and performance management, impact measurement, change management, influencing government and advocacy, information management, social media and personal presentation skills differentiate the programme from conventional management programmes. While the knowledge base is developed from an empirical perspective, the core focus is on helping learners migrate the knowledge base into a new set of competencies.

For information on the subjects taught on this course view the module descriptors.

2017 Schedule:

Attendance at college for 3 x 3-day blocks and 1 x 2-day block (11 days total). These blocks will be run over a 6-month or less period, allowing students spend time on applying the evidence based principles learned, completing applied projects as part of their assessment and focusing on independent learning.

Block One: Wed 20 – Fri 22 September 2017
Block Two: Wed 18 – Friday 20 October 2017
Block Three: Wed 15 – Friday 17 November 2017
Block Four: Thurs 14 and Friday 15 December 2017

Awards & Progressions

This course provides students with an opportunity to study at Masters level and attain the equivalent of 15 points at Level 9 in the areas of Management and Leadership. For students, without a level 8 degree, and who wish to go on to the Masters Programme, this course provides an excellent introduction to study at this level and can support their Recognition of Prior Learning Application, which is required for entry to the Masters programme.  

Furthermore, in 2018, NCI are offering all students of the Leaders for Change Programme a discount on the Master's fees, equivalent to the full costs of the Leaders for Change programme. So for those that go on to do enrol in the Masters Programme, Leaders for Change is effectively free of charge! The course has been developed with a specific intention of creating a pathway into the Masters Programme for leaders in the sector with significant experience although no primary degree. 

Entry Requirements

Applicants are required to hold a minimum of a 2.2 honours degree at level 8 or equivalent on the National Framework of Qualifications. Applications may also be considered under the college’s Recognition of Prior, Experiential Learning (RPEL) policy and this is likely to be particularly germane to the nonprofit sector managers who do not hold an undergraduate degree but have substantive work and managerial experience. This programme requires applicants to have previous work and managerial / team leader experience.

Course Fee

The cost of this course is €1,500*.
*see Awards and Progressions above for additional info.


Full course information, including a link to the online application system, is available here >>
If you would like more information about this course please email Regina Dunne on regina.dunne@ncirl.ie.

Testimonials / Feedback

"I was surprised by the impact the course had on my work life, and how it also transferred to other aspects of my life, it had a really positive impact." - senior leader, tourism
"The 360 degree feedback piece was invaluable." - senior leader, addiction services
"It has been absolutely invaluable to get a greater insight into my own leadership skills and deficits. I definitely would not have had this awareness without doing the course." - senior leader, disability service
"The biggest learning for me has been to understand my core values and principles."  - senior leader, youth services
"It's about putting an academic framework on what are the best management practices that research has shown work. Some of them I am doing already and it's putting a name on these, and then realising I do not do enough other, and learning some new skills." - senior leader, youth services
Fully 91% of respondents from the last Leaders for Change reported that the course is better, or much better, than any course they had taken previously.
You can gain additional insight into the Leaders for Change programme and hear more from past participants in the following video:


MSc in Nonprofit Management

NCI also offers an MSc in Nonprofit Management, an applied course aimed at improving managerial competencies at an emerging management senior level in nonprofit organisations while combining academic evidence-based practices with practitioner led knowledge and skills.

Note: for students who complete one or more of the certificate programmes and are successful in their application to continue onto the masters programme, their fees for the masters will reflect this.

Learn more here >>

If you would like to learn more about these courses please contact Regina Dunne on regina.dunne@ncirl.ie.


The Wheel Summit 2018