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Community of learners

first_img Comments are closed. What does it take to get an open learning centre used andaccepted? Lex Multipart believes the local partnerships can hold the keyLex Multipart, a specialist service provider in outsourced logistics, hascome a long way since launching its open learning centre (OLC), a partnershipdeveloped with Preston College, in November 1998. The centre was set up primarily to train Lex Multipart staff, but it wasalso to provide learning opportunities to those outside the company. LexMultipart provided the building, services, fixtures and fittings and PrestonCollege provided the equipment and expertise of its own personnel to staff thefacility. Both parties benefited: Lex Multipart gained an on-site,state-of-the-art facility at its largest site, the distribution centre atChorley, Lancashire; Preston College gained a satellite centre in a previouslyuntapped target population. Preston College runs the OLC as an enterprise and can supplement its corebusiness by attracting additional government funding based on the number oflearners. On-site staff number two full-time trainers, including the centremanager, and three part-time staff. All report to the Preston Collegemanagement team. Adaptability For Lex Multipart, the success of the partnership with the college hasproved to be the adaptability of the centre. It meets the needs of the companyboth for flexible, computer-based learning for its employees and as a site forthe delivery of classroom-based training. It also gives the company the chanceto raise its profile with local people and businesses. Things have moved on apace since 1998, as the centre has developed andgained recognition. Originally equipped with 16 PCs set up to run withMicrosoft/Lotus products and to provide Internet access, the centre’s openingprompted awareness of the World Wide Web within the company. At that time, however, only three IT training packages were available.Programs run on the Internet for use by managers in the automotive sector wasthe key factor to recognition for web knowledge and application. The centrethen offered free Internet access for all employees, web literacy throughoutthe business grew, and it was accredited for the BBC Webwise campaign and ITFor All. Painless implementation When Lex Multipart converted to full-scale use of Microsoft desktopapplications last year, the project was implemented painlessly as training onthe applications had started in the previous year. The flexible approach toprogrammes allowed employees to access training with minimum disruption toworking times. Early in 1999, Preston College was accredited to run the European ComputerDriving Licence (ECDL) which became the centre’s main product. In addition,evening language classes were offered to employees and the public. Classes inFrench, German, Spanish and Japanese attracted large numbers, with some classesrunning to intermediate level. The Spanish students took their learning all theway to GCSE level. At the same time, the logistics team involved in the roll-out of thecompany’s operation in Metz, France, undertook intensive French studies.Leading on from this, Lex Multipart won the DTI’s large company categoryLanguages for Export Award 1999. The OLC has supported links with local companies, not least through thepartnership with Hitachi Automotive Products to run Japanese classes for itsemployees alongside the Lex Multipart Hyundai account management team toeducate them in both language and culture. The classes were successful,covering a mix of employees, including shop-floor workers, line management andsalespeople. Customer research carried out to support bids for external funding showedthat the centre was attracting learners who had been out of education for sometime, and those who would not go into a traditional college environment.Despite this, applications for grants from the University for Industry, theEuropean Social Fund Objective 3 and the DTI Partnership at Work wereunsuccessful. However, the non-dependence on public funding has proved to be astrength by creating a challenge to the OLC team to seek initiatives thatgenuinely contribute towards its success. Last year, the centre moved to larger premises with improved site access androom for the number of workstations to be increased to 22. Today’s centre is a modern and innovative development, reflecting LexMultipart’s commitment to learning and development and is available for use byall employees, customers and suppliers as well as the public. Now fullyaccredited by Learndirect, the centre takes advantage of the most modernapproaches to learning using a flexible combination of online materials,support literature and personal tutors. The benefit of this approach is thatusers can access learning at all times and in blocks to suit the demands oftheir job and lifestyle. New opportunities Technologies and government investment have created a range of learningopportunities that will take the centre beyond IT training opportunities.Technology also enables learners to enhance their studies from PCs withInternet access at home or at work. Products on offer include: – The full range of Learndirect courses: essential skills, IT, business andmanagement, business studies, Learning for Life modular courses – Preston College IT courses including: Start, RSA CLAIT, IBT2, ECDL – Taught courses tailored to company and individual needs A benchmarking exercise on learning and management development carried outin 1999 with Ryder, a competitor in the logistics sector, showed Lex Multipart’slearning opportunities – particularly the OLC – to be among the top in thesector. Never content to rest on our laurels, we have made presentations to parentcompany Lex Service on linking Learndirect with the Lex intranet to increaseopportunities. To maintain momentum, Lex Multipart and Preston College hold regularsteering committee meetings. The committee has several aims: to identify future opportunities for thecentre; to find ways to improve the already buoyant enrolment levels; to reviewthe continuous updating and development of courses; and to look at recognitionawards for existing learners. An example of such an initiative is the learnerof the month award, which reflects the range and level of achievement made byindividuals of all ages from a variety of backgrounds. Our latest initiative is bringing increased learning opportunities to ourdistribution centre workforce with the development of a team of “learnerrepresentatives”. – Lex Multipart group managing director, John Stephenson, will bespeaking at the Wolce conference seminar on 10 October on the effectiveimplementation of open learning. Learner reps promote opportunitiesA ground-breaking initiative in the development of its staff has become oneof Lex Multipart’s main success stories this year, namely the appointment ofthree “learner reps” within its autologistics division at the Chorleydistribution centre.Learning and development staff, operations management and trade unionrepresentatives worked closely together to develop a process to bring trainingto the fore within the distribution centre. The main aim was to open uplearning opportunities to the workforce, many of whom have been out of learningfor several years, while at the same time tapping into the superb facilitiesprovided through the on-site open learning centre.To get the ball rolling, trade union representatives attended a series ofthree Union Learning Fund conferences in London, backed by the TUC. The learnerreps attended Flag (Front Line Advice & Guidance) training in June andJuly, with advanced Flag training planned later in the year. The company, inpartnership with Preston College, held open days for employees who wanted toknow more about the centre and the products on offer, with many enrolling onthe day. Already more than 30 staff have successfully completed the Certificatein Health and Safety – First Principles, awarded by the Chartered Institute ofEnvironmental Health.The process is weighted towards the employee. The company funds OLC trainingcourses covering START, CLAIT, ECDL and/or Learndirect products and hascommitted to look at any other reasonable requests on their own merits. Itgrants time off wherever possible, so that training takes place half in thecompany’s time and half in the learner’s time. The suggested course duration isused to calculate the appropriate time off, which has to be agreed up front byline management and entered into the time and attendance records.Although still in its infancy, the process is working well. An OLC steeringcommittee meets once a month. Consisting of staff from learning anddevelopment, operations and learner reps, it monitors the process and agreeswhat works well. It will look at areas for improvement and ensure that allemployees are given equal opportunity to learn new skills or develop existingones. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Community of learnersOn 1 Sep 2001 in Auto-enrolment, Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Weehawken High School robotics team entered first ever competition

first_imgWEEHAWKEN–The Weehawken High School robotics team competed in its first robotics competition Saturday, Feb. 18.The national Vex Robotics competition tasks participants with designing and building a robot to compete against other teams’ robots in a game-based engineering setting. It also employs STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts students learn in school.“Richard Barsa and Mayor [Richard] Turner are huge advocates for our STEAM program,” said Dr. Robert Zywicki, the Weehawken Superintendent of Schools.“These are the guys who made the STEAM lab happen here. When they heard that we had our first competition, they said, ‘How can we help as a team?’ One of the things they did was, they made competition shirts for our robotics team.”“We’re very proud of the robotics team,” Turner said. “It all started from the STEAM program that was set up a year ago. We wish them a lot of luck. The schools will be dramatically enhancing STEAM and technology. I congratulate the school board for putting this in place.”“It’s great to see the STEAM program finally come to fruition,” said Barsa. “We’re just doing so many different things that the kids are enjoying and it’s a great segue for college applications to have the STEAM program.” ×last_img read more