Funding for workplace degree study

ANGLIA Ruskin University has been awarded £5.6million towards the launch of a dedicated specialist unit to address the need for degree-level skills training for people in the workplace.

ANGLIA Ruskin University has been awarded £5.6million towards the launch of a dedicated specialist unit to address the need for degree-level skills training for people in the workplace.

The university - which operates from twin sites in Chelmsford and Cambridge and includes the Ashcroft International Business School - has secured the three-year funding deal from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Anglia Ruskin has also been awarded additional funding by the HEFCE for 1,000 more student places, taking the total value of the new money to more than £10million.

The scheme involves creating a specialist “Higher Skills @ Work” team to identify opportunities, consult and collaborate with employers in assessing and addressing their current provision, create solutions and capitalise on existing good practice.

Professor Michael Thorne, vice chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, said: 'This is one of the largest awards made by HEFCE under this scheme and, we believe, it recognises our existing strong achievements, the high quality of our offering and our stated commitment to the support of businesses and other organisations in growing their people and their overall effectiveness.

“This initiative will be highly effective for employees in terms of personal career development; and it will, at the same time, improve the overall performance of the businesses and organisations they represent.”

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The programme has created in response to an HEFCE request for proposals in support of the delivery of Higher Skills training to employees, against the backdrop of demographic change which will see declining numbers of skilled young people available for recruitment

The programme will work to address the needs of the existing workforce, rather than recruits, and differs from similar initiatives with the focus being on degree level skills.

Benefits to employers should include higher levels of motivation; better employee retention; higher levels of customer service; higher turnover and profitability; and an influx of new ideas and innovation, while benefits to employees include higher levels of job satisfaction and confidence; enhanced career prospects; and improved recognition.

The new unit will be led by a director and include a team of Skill Development Consultants (SDCs) who will target a selected lists of businesses and organisations. The new team will be recruited immediately and first students under the scheme are likely to enroll for autumn 2008.