Undertaking NABMA’s Diploma in Markets Administration (DMA) has coincided with some very positive steps in the career of Dan Ritchie. As he prepares to leave Cambridge to become Superintendent of Billingsgate Market he reflects on what he’s learned leading NABMA’s Market team of the year.
“I had been working in Camden for over ten years, so I was very familiar with the London Local Authorities Act and street trading, but knew that there was much to learn about how markets operated outside London and that I had no experience with market halls or indoor markets.
“I knew that market management was a career that I wanted to be involved in, but felt that in order to improve my career options I needed to appreciate the challenges facing operators outside London. The DMA provided just that opportunity and as I completed the course in 2014 I was thrilled to be appointed the opportunity to manage Cambridge markets. Part of the recruitment process was demonstrating my commitment to Continuing Professional Development, so I knew just how valuable the DMA had been in being appointed.
“So important is it that I made sure that all the staff in my team went on the Diploma course. The opportunity to learn first and foremost; share experiences and build a network of contacts are just some of the benefits of the DMA, and I wanted them all to experience what I had the chance to do. Cambridge benefits from having a very professional and knowledgeable team, keen to keep abreast of the latest developments nationally and support our traders accordingly.
“For many authorities there is no natural fit for markets and they are put with car parks; tourism; commercial services or licensing to name but a few. Market management is a niche and my experience is that the DMA convinces Heads of Service and Executive Councillors that the judgement and recommendations of their market managers can be relied upon. The DMA demonstrates that you have the knowledge to support the softer skills all market managers require in handling people; being empathetic but being able to say no, supporting other departments and stakeholders whilst progressing the agenda of your service.
“Since obtaining the Diploma the team have been recognised collectively and individually, and our markets and campaigns have also won awards. The network of market contacts we have built up has allowed us to make some wholesale changes to the services we provide in Cambridge as we are more aware of the many examples of great practice our colleagues up and down the country deliver on a daily basis. On a couple of occasions we have had the opportunity to share this at NABMA conferences, and have supported regional roadshows and other NABMA projects too. All this began with DMA.
“It’s not just about getting a piece of paper. The Diploma proves that you can have a career in Market Management and go where you want to with it. I think if you’ve got the Diploma on your CV it gives the employer confidence that you know what you are talking about.
“It’s a great way of upskilling and I would highly recommend it to any Market Manager who is serious about their own professional development, ambitious and wants to improve. This training represents a valuable investment with positive returns.”