Project based learning at Anglia Ruskin

Anglia Ruskin University is targeting growth through a new training drive to boost skills behind commercial degree courses

The Degrees at Work team at Anglia Ruskin University, which has campuses in Cambridge and Chelmsford – which offers tailor-made accredited training for employers – has brought in experts durhamlane to design and deliver a sales coaching and training programme.

The initiative has already led to a marked improvement in the new business prospecting and sales skills of the 10-strong team which is targeting 300 new students a year for its Degrees at Work courses.

The University’s Degrees at Work programmes enable employers to develop and nurture the degree-level skills of existing staff to meet their own workforce requirements.

The approach is seen as an effective way to embed new skills within a business to meet new needs, or enhance existing talent and expertise, through hands-on, practical project-based learning, which in turn delivers operational, income or strategic gain.

The RAF and British Army are among customers of the Anglia Ruskin team, which has also worked with Harrods’ Sales Academy to co-develop a BA (Hons) Sales degree that has boosted the value of the retailer’s shop-floor sales – durhamlane designed and delivered the Key Account Management module of this course, the first of its kind in the UK.

durhamlane undertook an initial review of the Degrees at Work team to assess its effectiveness and areas for development before delivering a series of training days and one-to-one coaching sessions based around its proprietary methodology ‘Selling at a Higher Level’ to improve sales and team working skills.

Investment in training has provided the team with a harder hitting and more customer friendly approach to sales of its degree courses, according to Jan Skene, the Cambridge-based head of Degrees at Work for Anglia Ruskin University.

“The recession forced us to re-evaluate our approach to sales. We had to develop a more compelling offer for employers who are keener than ever to up-skill existing talent through in-house degrees, to complement their graduate recruitment strategies.

“We had to look at improving our capability both as individuals and a team. durhamlane has given our sales strategy renewed focus and made us more confident, thoughtful practitioners and stronger performers.

The team expects to exceed its target and moreover is seeing an improvement in the calibre of customers it is now winning.

“I was impressed by the fact that durhamlane took time to understand our business, and the culture of the team and organisation,” added Jan Skene. “They saw the world through our eyes to ensure that the training was relevant, meaningful and ultimately beneficial in helping us to win and grow business.”

Jan and her team now work at a higher level within their clients’ business, making a beneficial impact as an added-value provider, with targeted solutions that measurably deliver return on investment.

Managing partner at durhamlane Richard Lane added: “Degrees at Work recognised it had to move with the times to remain ahead of the field. It has achieved this and is now one of the most ambitious and proactive units within the commercial degrees business.”


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