The British Council
"MMC have been a valued partner in providing training support for our staff. Their online course has been content rich, administered professionally and has provided us with a benchmark in marketing skills. Colleagues who have done the course have found it useful and beneficial."
British Council staff around the world are developing their marketing skills through a unique e-Learning programme which they will then begin to use as a training tool for students in developing countries, where such training is in high demand and short supply. The training is currently CD-ROM-based but will shortly embrace online training as well.
The British Council connects people worldwide with learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK, and builds lasting relationships between the UK and other countries.
The primary objective is to improve the use of the English language worldwide via English education, but increasingly, the British Council looks for ways to achieve this goal by means education in professional disciplines. It's Educational Enterprises Group provides professional training such as Marketing Essentials and examinations.
The British Council operates from 218 offices in 109 countries. Now, together with the World Bank, it is establishing knowledge and learning centres in developing nations. New Delhi is the project flagship, with Belgrade and Accra also planned.
To be adopted, a training programme must therefore be capable of delivery world-wide, with consistent quality, and have a low unit cost.
Marketing Essentials from MMC met all these criteria, and so MMC and The British Council joined forces in 2001.
The British Council recognised that before it could competently provide training in marketing, their own staff needed to be put through the courses. The British Council took the Marketing Essentials package of ten workbooks and ten CD-ROMs, and incorporated it into a British Council programme entitled Marketing: An introductory self-study course.
The pilot began in 2001 with 50 British Council staff studying Marketing Essentials via CD-ROM. Each student was aiming for the prestigious Interactive Marketing Award. This requires successful completion of two work-based assignments and is recognised by The Chartered Institute of Marketing as a Professional Development Award. The two assignments are: a marketing audit of that part of the British Council with which the student is familiar, and a marketing plan.
The pilot exceeded all expectations in terms of the high completion rate of the programme and the exceptionally high quality of assignments written by British Council staff. Marketing Essentials was rolled out to a further 300 British Council staff and, by November 2002, 163 assignments had been received. The norm for this area of distance learning is much nearer to 10%, not over 50%, making this one of the most successful ever global, distance-learning programmes, and due in no small measure to the ability of the MMC customer service team in Manchester to provide effective support to students thousands of miles away. A further 200 staff will start the course in the last quarter of 2002 and a final cohort of 200 in 2003.
British Council libraries, which carry examples of British educational practice, will shortly begin to stock demonstration kits. Staff will be able to sell the programme to local businesses and students - and as they themselves have taken the course it is much easier for them to recommend it and provide local support where necessary.
As local IT infrastructure improves, provisions are being made to take the courses online. British Council employees will then have the opportunity to gain a second qualification, The Chartered Institute of Marketing's eMarketing Award. This is achieved by successfully completing ten online courses from eMarketing eXcellence, one work-based assignment and a short, one-hour, online examination.
The British Council knows its staff can confidently promote training in English through marketing training to local businesses in developing countries, because their own staff have taken the course they are offering.
And the marketing training they have followed will assist British Council staff in their general work.