Can academics and business people talk the same language?
Interview by Ian Trevett
I head up the in-company training arm of the university, based in the economic and Social engagement Department. I am very much externally-facing, building bridges between what we do inside the university (research and teaching) and what we do outside with the business community. I help business people to find a way in and help theacademics to find a way out.
We can build advanced courses with businesses such as the MSc in applied Computer Science we developed with IT company FDM. Or we can provide short courses for employers in areas such as leadership and management, innovation and specialist technical skills.
We see our role as a university as bringing new trends and ideas to the business community. we can say to businesses, why not talk to us, we are at the leading edge of a lot of the new innovations and developments.
We can go into businesses and work with them to assess their training needs and help design a package of support whether it is tailor-made training, consultancy, providing interns or working on a KTP (knowledge transfer partnership). we will look at the ways the university can help the business and that is the raison d’etre for our department.
People often see universities as being closed to anyone who is not on a two or three year degree or is not aged between 18-22. But our offer is much wider than that. Courses can be as short as half a day and we can deliver them on the company’s site. For example we ran a short course on waste management for a consortium of businesses in the Manor royal area. Businesses often don’t think of asking their university for help.