College wins National Learning Award for Partnership with BAE Systems

PCFS Students at BAE Systems - Image courtesy of www.positivenegatives.net

Published: Tuesday 7 May 2013

Through its Project Control Foundation Scheme, BAE Systems is working closely with Blackpool and The Fylde College, to offer valuable work experience and formal qualifications for learners, potentially producing the company’s future project managers. The scheme’s dedication to improving people’s lives through learning is being recognised with the Learning for Work Project Award - supported by the National Open College Network - as part of Adult Learners’ Week 18 - 24 May 2013.

When BAE Systems found that their graduate employment scheme was not supplying them with suitable people to fill Project Controller and Project Manager roles, they approached Blackpool and The Fylde College to form a partnership and develop a Project Control Foundation Scheme (PCFS). The scheme was launched in September 2007 and offers learners a chance to work full time at BAE Systems, gaining experience in several project control roles, while attending Blackpool and The Fylde College one day a week. Students study towards a Foundation Degree in Project Management over three years, with the further opportunity of a two-year top-up BSc (Hons) in Project Management.

The first BSc (Hons) degree cohort of 22 students graduated in 2012, with eight first degrees, ten 2:1 and four 2:2 classifications.

“The scheme is producing the project managers who will be the future of this company,” said BAE Systems' Andy Bloor, Project Manager of Learning and Development.

Such is its success that BAE Systems have signed up Blackpool and The Fylde College to deliver the programme for another five years.

“The lecturers not only teach us about project management, they get us to think critically and creatively and we can then problem solve in the workplace,” said Joanna Cinis, one of PCFS’s 2012 graduates.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said,

"The achievements of this year’s NIACE Adult Learners’ Week winners are inspirational. Each winner demonstrates the life changing benefits education offers. To make it easy for anyone wanting to re-train, or to choose a new course of study, the National Careers Service is on hand and in its first year has advised 800,000 people on what options are open to them."

Graham Hasting-Evans, NOCN Managing Director, said,

“True partnerships provide benefits all round and this is a partnership where everyone has gained something that's vital to their future. The skills gap is an enormous challenge for many employers. But a project like this shows that, with will and determination, something fundamental and far reaching can be achieved. The partners have created an answer which suits the needs of employers, draws on the expertise of local educators and gets the best out of adult learners. Project control is an essential skill in many industries. We at NOCN do everything we can to nurture partnerships like this and we congratulate BAE and Blackpool and Fylde College for their success and pragmatic solution. Great things are happening."

David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said,

“Each and every year during Adult Learners’ Week we are reminded, by all the award winners’ stories, just how much people can improve their lives through learning. It helps them become more involved in their communities and often gives them a brighter future to look forward to. I hope the dedication, enthusiasm and vision that the BAE Systems Project Control Foundation Scheme has used to give people the opportunity to progress in life through learning will inspire other projects and employers to see the positive impact learning can have on people and communities.”

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