Award-bearing course in-house
The Pensions Regulator identified the need to ensure that all of its staff have the highest level of business skills, knowledge and behaviours in order to deliver its goals and objectives. In line with the organisation’s learning and development strategy it was agreed that an award-bearing course would best meet this requirement.
The University of Brighton Business School won the subsequent tender. Present at the pitch were the university staff who would be delivering the course:
”We were impressed that the University of Brighton brought in the people who would actually be doing the teaching, as well as helping us design the course” said Corporate Development Adviser at the Pensions Regulator, Fiona McBride.
Pensions Regulator staff studying the business skills course
What the regulator wanted from the course was to ensure a comprehensive understanding of key corporate issues such as:
- corporate decision making
- funding and accounting
All this has been achieved, in addition to the obvious networking benefits and improved interpersonal skills of staff.
The Business School team mapped potential content for the course against the regulator's competency framework. The resulting business skills programme was a careful balance between academic theory and businesslike training, which could be implemented ‘back at the desk’. The course took around nine months to design and develop, and the first cohort ran in September 2006.
The Pensions Regulator had deliberately set out to make the course award-bearing to increase its value to staff, so they would be able to use the credits towards other degree or masters-level courses. The resulting graduate certificate has the same checks in place as any academic course at the university would, with a course board attended by student representatives, the course leader and head of school, Professor Aidan Berry.
Staff wanting to enter the programme go through the full university application process, including an interview.
Now into its third year, the course continues to be as popular as it was from the outset. Many of its students did not have a university education, so working towards the graduate certificate has increased their confidence and some have used the course as a progression to further study at masters degree level.
The graduate certificate has had strong support from the chief executive and senior management team, and 47 per cent of those completing it have received a promotion within the Pensions Regulator since embarking on the course.
The Pensions Regulator: www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk