Bank invests in university

High street bank Barclays is opening local branches of learning. The central
Birmingham metro centre opened late last month. It is the first in a network of
regional learning centres for Barclays University, known as "bu".

Bu metro centres will open around the country in the next 18 months, hosted
by a learning adviser and offering a full range of learning opportunities from
e-learning to more traditional classroom delivery.

A wide range of bu trials have been rolling out this year across Barclays,
including an e-based learning management system and a £150 cash grant which
employees can spend on any learning of their choice.

The courses can be work-related or for personal interest on any subject but
in either case still have to be accessed through one of the centres. "We
act as a filter for such courses," said a Barclays spokeswoman. "Our
employees know that all materials are up to our standards."

Barclays is hoping that the bu centres will help employees rise to "the
challenge of personal development", said deputy chief executive John
Stewart, "and bring us closer to our aim of being the employer of

Further metro centres are due to open in Manchester and Bristol soon, with
more opening across the country during 2002.

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