News: Undeterred by the Due Date of Baby Francis, Pete’s Efforts Paid Off and a Full Master’s is now in reach…


It was a surreal moment he’ll never forget, but a commitment’s a commitment… Peter Francis, Financial Controller at NERAK, sat calmly in the maternity ward of Cardiff Hospital, and in his hand was a book on Leadership Principles in business. He read on and patiently waited for the arrival of his second son, Joe. It has to be said, he has an extremely understanding wife!

Recommended by NERAK Directors, the 20Twenty course run by Cardiff Metropolitan University is unique.

Aimed at business owners, senior managers and directors, the duration of the course is fifteen working days staggered over a ten month period.

At the same time as studying you can also gain a part qualification towards a full Masters Degree which requires the completion of coursework and delivery of a Strategic Growth Project which allows you to utilise your learnings to drive and measure financial growth within your business as a direct consequence of your actions.

20Twenty offers a fast track progression route from Chartered Management Institute Level 4 to Level 7, including a dual award: Postgraduate Certificate, CMI level 7 and Chartered Manager award like Pete has– which can also be used towards an “Executive MBA.”

That said, doing the course to gain the qualification is optional, it’s possible to complete the course without doing the courseworks.

Currently the programme is 60% EU Subsidised, so the costs are much lower than comparable courses in Leadership and Management in Business.

Modules include Managing Finance, Marketing and Digital Media Strategies, Leadership, High Performing Teams and Strategic Business Planning.

Despite the fact that Pete’s second baby was due at the same time as his first coursework deadline, he decided he would go for gold anyway!

He has especially enjoyed understanding all aspects of what makes a successful business through courses delivered by both academics and business professionals.

“Because the course is staggered, days out from the business are manageable, as is the coursework. I really enjoyed the sessions delivered by the trainers, professors and industry experts but I found most value in going away to research the topics and discover the breadth of opinions out there, you really get to understand the principles of the teaching and the alternative views around.

At the beginning of the course there were nearly twenty of us but by the end there were about eight of us so you had a core of people who really believed in the course. We were able to have in-depth discussions about business topics. As well as that it was really interesting to hear how other businesses did things differently and how that benefited them, it was a great opportunity to network.






The leadership module especially resonated with me. The principle of modern workplace leadership is all about teams being self sufficient in an open, creative and challenging environment. This is exactly what NERAK aims for. The drive of the team is from within and not ‘top down’, it’s evolution is unrestricted by the barriers of hierarchy because their leaders trust their colleagues to make the right decisions and ask for support when they need it. That mutual respect and equal dedication drives accountability. There’s faith that supporting each other and developing everyone’s skills makes a stronger team.

Often people think you can only lead your team in two ways – With a stick or a carrot… In reality neither are effective or rewarding. Few people are incentivised on an ongoing basis by annual profit share schemes for example, and the stick principle is proven to drive negativity and inactivity. Real motivation comes through team comradery, trust and knowing you are all giving your best. It emphasised to me why NERAK strives to work in the way it does.

During the finance module of the course, I saw these principle of Leadership in action. The tutor realised I was an accountant and during the break offered me to get involved with training the group to support him. It was a special touch, it’s not usual for that to happen and I appreciated the sentiment.

Through 20Twenty I was able to see other sides of the business that I would never usually see so it gave me a better appreciation of what other people’s roles involve. I’ve seen the benefits now of gaining that understanding. People don’t often come to work to do a bad job and gaining a better understanding of people’s roles really generates better awareness, communication and empathy which again can only be of benefit to the team.

I came away with a much better understanding of the commonalities of which good companies have and red flags for businesses growing too quickly, understanding why companies can fail and how they can be turned around.

I think the skill I use the most on a daily basis is coaching and supporting the growth of our team. We have quite a young management team so the course has made me feel I can confidently offer a broader view for consideration and while I don’t claim to be an expert by any means I feel as individuals, the shared learnings brought back to the business has made us all stronger.

I’ve decided to take the next step and go back to Cardiff Mett to complete the Full Masters Degree. Having NERAK’s support has been fundamental to making this all possible and I really thank them for making that investment in me. I’ll never forget this time in my life, I’m sure my wife will remind me for years to come!”

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