A joint venture to develop new materials to help managers to carry out self-assesments was made by the Association for College Management (ACM), the Further Education Development Agency (Feda) and the Further Education National training Organisation (Fento).
Materials will be developed with the support of the University for Industry to help managers to analyse their strengths and weaknesses and assess their own training needs.
Nadine Cartner, the ACM education officer, said: "This is the first stage in what the association hopes will become a new professional development programme."
The involvement of Feda and Fento was necessary to make sure developments are in line with wider government aims to improve management standards.
Trade union learning funds in excess of pound;10 million were created in England, Scotland and Wales last summer to sponsor new qualifications and courses for trade union members. The cash included pound;8.5m from the Department for Education and Employment and pound;1.2m from Scotland's Ministry for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning.
All 4,000 ACM members will be immediate beneficiaries, said Ms Cartner. "But there are at least 12,000 people in the colleges needing help - a figure which will, of course, grow as new managers are appointed."
The ACM council will consider at its next meeting ways to create a wider service of appraisal and staff development. Ms Cartner added: "We should be equipping people with the skills for management before they apply for promotion."
The staff development programme would aim to look at all levels, from basic staff needs to help with qualifications for principals and managers.