During the GFC executive education was all about upskilling while recruitment was down, but as companies now look to develop and retain talented staff, the aptly name ‘corporate education’ has taken over.
PERSONAL development, motivation and rewarding outcomes have become as vital as salary incentives in keeping the best employees, and with tertiary institutions now catering to suit, both employer and employee are reaping the rewards.
University of Queensland (UQ) has been a leader in the development of corporate education – a term used for courses and programs catering to the demand from companies for executive-specific training and qualifications.
UQ Business School director of corporate education Dr Jim Nyland, says corporations are increasingly looking to partner with universities for employee development.
Two examples are recent programs for BOQ executives and the K2 Young Guns Leadership Program developed in partnership with construction giant Lainge O’Rourke Australia.
The K2 Young Guns brochure states the 12-month program focuses on four core disciplines and ‘is a tailored graduate certificate in executive leadership for middle and senior managers within Lainge O’Rourke Australia’.
“We have a number of partnerships just like Lainge O’Rourke who work with us on developing the ideal program for executive training and courses,” says Nyland.
“Many corporations have a couple of education partners to provide the different levels of executive training they require.
“For example we currently provide the senior executive leadership program for the Queensland Government, whereas QUT delivers the middle managers program and the Australian Institute of Management runs the one-day courses.”
Nyland describes the strategy of creating individual programs for companies as ‘very successful’ and a win-win situation for both employers and staff.
Some companies however such as the non-profit Endeavour Foundation, are opting to put staff through a number of existing courses to ‘bring that knowledge back into the organisation’.
“It may seem like a large financial cost but really the only cost is time. It’s all about ‘how do we retain staff and get the best results from our people’,” he says.
SCU ’s Graduate College of Management (GCM) director of corporate programs Ben Faranda, agrees corporate education is becoming more popular with HR managers looking for alternative ways to retain talented staff.
“Southern Cross University and in particular the GCM, have been running corporate programs with a series of very satisfied clients and successes,” says Faranda.
“The concept is fairly simple, yet highly elegant. Corporate programs design a series of workshops and modules that are used within corporate environments as a form of executive education, personal development and performance improvement.”
Faranda says having an academic edge is becoming increasingly important as the economy grows, industry returns to hiring and the search for top talent ‘heats up’.
“You will find HR managers and organisational development managers increasingly focusing on ways to retain their current pool, let alone start the arduous and expensive process of recruitment,” he says.
Nyland agrees, and with many companies financially supporting employees through full degrees and even awarding the top performers with complete MBA scholarships, he can’t see the corporate education trend slowing down.
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