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University on the Shop Floor


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DateJanuary 01, 2007 Posted by: Nige Howarth   Keywords: blended learning, empowerment, induction, innovation, involving managers, learner engagement, learners, location, measuring value, opensource, platforms, productivity, Small Business

In common with many manufacturing sectors, the ceramic industry is undergoing significant restructuring to adapt to the challenges of modern global competition. This case study shows how a group of companies in the West Midlands have responded by focussing on the skills of their employees and on business driven workforce development. The University on the Shopfloor is a three year project designed to develop a ceramic industry learning network which will meet strategic commercial needs by improving skills and flexibility at all levels in the industry.

This was the first time an attempt had been made to establish a learning network across a range of companies in an industry. The Ceramic Industry Forum (CIF) were tasked to deliver the project. As a DTI supported industry body, CIF would be able to manage the interface between ACTD, UALS, DfES and other potential stakeholders including LSC and, most importantly, companies within the industry.

The project has recruited enthusiasts for learning and brought them together in a single cross-company network, regardless of position or grade. They promote skills development in their companies through partnership and networking, creating added value that is already being shared and replicated among new companies joining the network. By August 2005, the learning network had enrolled 2,500 individual learners. The average saving or added value provided by each team has been at least £25,000. This represents a total saving of £750,000 for the six pilot companies in the first year – from CI teams alone. In future years the spreading use of CI teams within the pilot companies should generate savings in excess of £1 million per annum. 

For more details on this case study, click here

first posted Sept 05

This article was originally created by the Work based e-learning project at e-skills UK and is reproduced with kind permission.

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