British Aerospace has opened the last of five open learning centres that it has established at its military aircraft manufacturing sites during the past 18 months.
Open learning, which is intended to complement formal training programmes, has already proved popular at BAe. More than 6,000 students have registered out of a workforce which, after the staff cuts of recent years, numbers 16,000 at the five sites. Collectively they have been putting in 900 hours of study a week.
Employees can ask for time off to pursue open learning, but the centres are also open during evenings for spare time study. Volunteers help the paid tutors to provide support and assistance for students throughout opening hours.
BAe has invested Pounds 60,000 in software and Pounds 40,000 in computers and interactive video equipment for the centres at Warton, Samlesbury, Brough, Dunsfold and Farnborough. With the opening of the Farnborough centre, the five sites now have a total of 35 workstations available for students.
Most of the workstations have CD-Rom and interactive video laser disk drives, so students can use a variety of media from one workstation.