A Story Of Development: Andy Gilmartin

Bringing high-calibre leaders to the industry

Our MSc in Manufacturing Leadership is amongst the most popular of our courses, proven to be incredibly valuable in students’ development. Created in association with Lancaster University, this master’s degree is bringing high-calibre leaders to the industry with the knowledge and skills to drive manufacturing’s continued success.

Managing Director of Gilwood, a provider of specialist stainless steel pressure and storage vessels and process plant equipment solutions, Andy Gilmartin is excelling in his Manufacturing Leadership MSc. The course has already demonstrated itself as vital to his development. Here, he talks about how he’s progressed in his role since enrolling.

How were you introduced to The Manufacturing Institute?

I heard of the organisation through Angela Robinson, an Account Manager at The Manufacturing Institute.

Angela visited our office and told me all about it. I liked what I was hearing, so I spoke to my fellow directors to see what they thought. They agreed that the modules available in the MSc – Leadership, Global Markets and Future Manufacturing, Managing Financial Resources, World Class Manufacturing Practices, Manufacturing Enterprise Creation and Development, and Innovation – would be very useful to my role as Managing Director at Gilwood.

What inspired you to take the MSc?

Gilwood are an SME and family business. At the time, three of our four directors were coming up to retirement age and I wanted to enhance my capabilities, competencies, and experience to help me lead the business going forward.

The modules on the MSc suited this requirement perfectly. I felt they would enhance my skill set and development in the role.

Tell us about your experience on the programme

I was slightly apprehensive about going back to university to do an MSc, but it wasn’t long before I began to really enjoy it. I’m not saying it’s easy because it’s not! But I’m finding the course interesting. It completely broadens your horizons, opening you up to new ideas and theories you might never have previously thought of applying.

Your learning progresses throughout the course gradually, and my depth of knowledge has increased significantly from when I started the course back in September 2016. The first Leadership module has been the stand-out one so far – it has been essential in my development. It has helped me differentiate between leadership and management practices, emphasising the importance of good communication, shared vision, and continuous self-development.

The tutors in particular have been fantastic – not just in their teaching, but also their support. They’re incredibly understanding, and I know that if something isn’t going to plan during my studies, they will accommodate for it. You can always contact them for help and guidance, or if you just want an open ear. The same goes for Angela and the other students on the course.

Have there been any key milestones or achievements so far?

Life has been full on! Running the business, becoming a new father, and working on the MSc has been a challenge. I’ve had to be quite organised, so would definitely say that successfully keeping on top of these things has been an achievement!

I’ve also received great marks so far. The assignments I’ve completed give a good indication of what I’ll get once I’ve finished the MSc. At the moment I’m on track for a distinction, so hopefully that will be my final grade – that would definitely be a massive achievement.

What do you hope to get out of the MSc?

The qualification will provide me with not just the understanding I need, but also the up-to-date techniques necessary for my role.

Collaborative study with other people has really expanded my knowledge of the subject and accelerated my learning. As a result, I hope to come out of the course with more extensive training than I would gain through other means.

How is the course playing a part in your current role?

Together with my fellow Managing Director Matt Gilmartin, we are looking to apply new ideas into the business which can help take it forward – focusing on our inherent strengths in high-specification, high-quality work. The modules I have completed to date have complimented and supported the strategic changes we have looked to implement over the last 12-18 months.

Many of the tools and techniques I have been taught on the MSc are being applied on a daily basis. The course has provided me with a greater self-awareness and an understanding of others to help build effective teams.

The course really has improved how I work. The partnership between Lancaster University and The Manufacturing Institute is great, I think they’ve found something special by bringing the two organisations together. It has improved collaboration between industry experts and the latest academic research being taught.