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Report calls for more corporate universities
Report calls for more corporate universitiesKeywords: Learning, Training, Development, Companies
More companies should consider setting up a "corporate university" or centre of learning, says a new report, Developing a Corporate Learning Strategy. Based on an in-depth study of training and development strategies in 69 companies, it suggests that those companies with corporate universities or centres of learning are often more effective at developing their "human capital".
The report says that there are about 1,000 corporate centres and institutions in the private sector that incorporate the word "university" in their title. Most are in the USA. They include McDonald's Hamburger University and the Disney University.
In Europe, companies are more likely to use the words "academy" or "centre" to describe their learning centre, says the author of the report, Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas. Examples include the Audi Academy, which this year is providing 18,000 training days for staff and franchise partners, and the Amoco Learning Centre.
But even more important than the name is the purpose of the centre, says Coulson-Thomas. The report describes 24 possible purposes for corporate learning centres. They include creating a central core of learning materials and facilities accessible from anywhere in the company and achieving economies of scale in the design and delivery of training and development programmes.
The report describes the advantages and disadvantages of corporate learning centres and provides a detailed route-map to show how companies can gain the most benefit from them.
It quotes examples from companies such as British Aerospace, Apple Computer, IBM and Ford, to show how learning centres can make a strategic contribution to the development of a business.
Coulson-Thomas says: "With continuing interest in outsourcing, partnerships and other collaboration, the distinction between corporate learning centres, traditional universities, consulting firms and commercial trainers is likely to become more blurred.
"The scale of global demand for learning services and support is such that there is an unprecedented opportunity for visionary entrepreneurs to create new international learning centres and networks of excellence for the new millennium."
Developing a Corporate Learning Strategy: The Key Knowledge Management Challenge for the HR Function is published by Policy Publications in association with the University of Luton at £395.00. To order, contact Policy Publications, 4 The Crescent, Bedford MK40 2RU. Tel: +44 (0) 1234 328448. Fax: +44 (0) 1234 357231. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org