COHORT: The KFC managers at DMU
Students have arrived at De Montfort University (DMU) to start their studies on Britain’s first-ever bespoke honours degree funded by a restaurant company.
The cohort of 23 students are all managers with KFC and will be studying for a BA (Hons) in Business Management. The course has been devised by academics in DMU’s Business School and is designed to combine blended learning with regular sessions on campus.
KFC has invested £600,000 in the innovative programme, which is part of its moves to invest in training and skills for staff. Some 60 managers will be put through the course over the next five years.
This week, the students arrived for their induction day where they were welcomed by course leader, DMU principal lecturer, Alison Bragg, given a tour of the campus and had an overview of what the course will entail.
To be selected to be the first undergraduates, each manager had to undergo a rigorous assessment process involving interviews and applications, before being vetted by DMU’s team. This was to ensure that those chosen were suitable for the academic demands of a three-year degree.
The students range from those who already have a degree to those who left school with no qualifications.
Donald Cisse, branch manager of the KFC Redhill in Surrey, was looking into studying for a degree when he learned what his employers were planning.
He said: “It’s a blessing. I was looking for an insight into business management, and I have done some courses with the Open University and through the CHRP (Certified Human Resources Professional) which looks at HR. I was considering doing a business management degree and financing it myself when I found out that KFC were launching this. I applied and was successful. I cannot wait to start.”
Stacey Sheppard, of Halesowen, said: “I left school with no GCSEs and joined the company when I was 19 and worked my way through the ranks to be a training restaurant manager. I always wanted to do a degree and I’m really excited to be here.”
Russell Curtis, from Nottingham, is an area coach and is responsible for overseeing all the branches in the county. He said: “I always wanted to do a degree but without this programme I would never have had the chance. It’s an incredible opportunity.”
Professor David Wilson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Business and Law at De Montfort University, said: “We are delighted to welcome the first group of KFC managers to De Montfort University.
“At DMU, we pride ourselves on our ability to utilise our academic expertise and provide flexible services to match business needs. It is a reflection of the priority which KFC gives to the development of their employees and it is a great opportunity for DMU to support KFC’s managers to gain a valuable degree qualification whilst working.”
To mark the start of the degree course, KFC commissioned research to highlight how important training is to workers. Despite the difficult economic climate, only 15% of workers with qualifications said they would prefer better pay to getting more training at work, and only 14% feel that their wages are more important than training.
The survey of over 2000 people ranging from 18 to 65+ revealed that 18 – 34 year old workers with qualifications were most interested in employer-funded learning with 72% of them keen for their employers to support them in furthering their education.
Martin Shuker, Managing Director KFC UK & Ireland, said: “These findings highlight the importance of employers stepping up and supporting their employees in work-related learning. We’ve always believed we stand out as an employer because young workers really value the accredited training we provide, and today’s research bears this out.
“KFC degrees give us an opportunity to reward some of our best performers, who never had the chance to go to university when they were younger. Our employees gain a meaningful and respected qualification while still earning money, and we reap the benefits of their improved skills and confidence in the business.”
Posted on Thursday 11th April 2013