Aerospace giant opts for cyberspace

BAE Systems has been working with Cranfield University to build a range of tutor-led online learning courses, designed to raise the overall capability of the aerospace company’s engineers.

The initiative came after the organisation recognised the need to train around 1,000 of the 3,000 engineers within the mechanics and structures discipline up to the level of practitioner engineers.

Once this level is reached, engineers can easily move between projects or businesses, says Richard Blockley, head of technical programmes at the BAE Systems Virtual University.

“We estimated that it would cost £10,000 per person in the traditional classroom environment, including time away from the job, accommodation and travel costs, making £10m in total,” says Blockley.

“This tutor-led online training will be completed at a fraction of that cost. Not only will we deliver the required learning in a personalised, flexible and interactive format, but we will do it in a highly cost-effective manner.”

BAE approached Cranfield University, and the result was five courses covering subjects such as vehicle dynamics, mechanical systems, and structures and design.

Each course will take 10 to 20 delegates who are assigned an academic tutor. Delegates must put in 50 hours of learning over a 12-week period. Towards the end of each course, learners undertake a group project.

BAE expects to enrol 150 delegates on the courses in 2005, increasing to 300 delegates per year from 2006.

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