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Brunel University and AXA UK join forces to help IT professionals develop strategic skill sets

The programme is designed to allow IT professionals to develop their careers by reaching beyond their technical competencies and contributing to innovation and business transformation in their own working context.

The announcement comes as a survey by PWC revealed that 98 per cent of business leaders see IT as strategically important to the future success of their business .

The course content has been developed collaboratively by Brunel University and AXA UK, but has been carefully designed so that it is relevant to any industry sector.

It embraces conceptual tools that free the learner from the constraints of the individual organisation they work for but at the same time encourages the smart thinking needed to apply new-found knowledge and skills back into the workplace.

The programme lasts three years but is split into four six-month modules and a twelve-month dissertation. The course only requires students to attend the University for four, one-week learning blocks.

Throughout the rest of the course, learning is situated in the workplace to enable situated innovation, and students gain support through regular site visits and video conferences with Brunel academics.

The structure of the workplace Masters programme means that organisations can meet staff development needs without losing valuable members of their teams for long periods of time.

What's more, by learning on the job in this way, organisations can benefit from their staff's development in real-time, rather than waiting for the end of the course to see the results.

Dr. Mark Lycett, Deputy Head of Brunel University's School of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics, commented: “Information and communication technologies are fundamental to the business environment, but their role in achieving sustainable competitive advantage requires smart thinking and understanding of the business if they are to be truly transformational. This course is designed to give IT professionals the skills they need to achieve this.“

Ian Pinnock, Group CIO at AXA UK, added: “The motivations for AXA UK's involvement in the development of this course are two-fold: Firstly, we recognise the importance of embracing ICT not just to keep the lights on but to deliver real benefits in terms of efficiency, innovation and competitive advantage.

“Secondly, we want to take our thinking and capability to a new higher level. We need to develop our people along two tracks, leadership and technical. The MTech helps us in inspiring, motivating and developing the thinking ability of our staff.

“Both of these facets are central to AXA UK's 'Ambition 2012' project which sets out our plans to become the insurance industry's preferred company for clients, partners, employees and shareholders by 2012.“

Mike Norman, Visiting Professor at Brunel University, concluded: “The MTech course sets the standard for workplace learning. It is organised to meet the industry needs by balancing practice with theory. What could be more engaging for any IT professional?“