Students today, business or world leaders tomorrow

Published: 8 June 2007 at 14:37

The Ashcroft International Business School at Anglia Ruskin University has launched a new and practice-based degree framework for students who want to gain as much real-life and work-based understanding and experience as possible during their studies.

The new BA (Hons) Management and Leadership (Work Based) degree in its standard mode sees students applying through UCAS and full-time on campus in Cambridge during the first year and work-based learning on placement in a range of organisations in years two and three. 

For those interested in a career with Barclays Bank Plc, a version of the course has also been launched with the company as a development path of its Retail Development Programme. On this option, which is also being offered more widely by the business school as a talent recruitment and development solution for other organisations, students are work-based, sponsored and salaried for all three years of the course. 

Whether on the Barclays Retail Development Programme or the generic BA (Hons) Management and Leadership degree students are supported via blended learning approaches and have a mix of face to face contact, access to online learning materials and tutor contact. To further facilitate understanding and development and impact in the work-place, students are also supported by mentors from the business school and placement organisation.

Another route to the course comes from the distance learning Certificate of Higher Education and Leadership. This course targets those already in the work-place and can lead to progression to Years two and three of the Management and Leadership degree.

Professor Martin Reynolds, Dean of Ashcroft International Business School comments:

“Our courses must offer wider options for access and in doing so also reflect current and future needs of both students and employers. This includes engaging students with the realities of organisations and developing the skills and behaviours needed to enhance their effectiveness and impact in the work-place.”

“By learning from the inside of an organisation on our courses, students will gain an enhanced understanding of theory, a very relevant degree and the chance to make real impacts and changes. The fact that students on the Retail Development Programme and the standard version of our Management and Leadership degree also receive a salary and have their fees paid whilst on placement just adds to the deal we can offer.”

Barclays Learning and Development Manager for Special Projects, Ed Fox said:

“Like many organisations we are seeking to get the right people with the right skills, understanding and attitudes for our business. The Retail Development Programme is great way of doing this and a fantastic opportunity for anyone wanting a career in retail and a degree at the same time. The programme run in partnership with the Ashcroft International Business School means that individuals are employed from day one, get to know our business and customers better and align their development to their role and career with us.”

Professor Michael Thorne, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University said of these developments:

“We have a long history of engagement with organisations from both the public and private sectors. Along with wider strategic partnerships with educational providers within the East of England region, innovations in course design and links and partnerships with business and other stakeholders will be central to the development of our students, courses and our university as a whole.”

“This is particularly relevant at a time of change within the sector and to ensure we are leading the way when it comes to widening participation and the outcomes of degrees for both students and prospective employers. As a practice based School with a focus on the real world of business, the Ashcroft International Business School has addressed these issues head on and in doing so has understandably received tremendous support from Barclays Bank and a number of other employers.”

This approach to student and course development reflects the pressure on Universities but also the need for new approaches to development of knowledge and skills both for and in the work-place. The need for such development was recently highlighted by Lord Leitch and is an area of strategic development for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) through their employer engagement widening participation programmes.