Activate Learning & BMW Group Leadership and Engineering Programmes

The College

Activate Learning

With seven colleges across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey, Activate Learning delivers education at both further and higher levels, as well as apprenticeships and a growing international offer. We recognise that in order for our learners to be successful, we need to teach them the things that industry really needs.

This is why we work with more than 2,000 companies across all sectors nationwide in order to address the challenges they face. And because of the scale with which we operate and our different provisions, we can offer support to businesses at every level and help their staff transform their lives through learning.

The Employer

BMW Group is a German multinational company founded in 1916 that produces automobiles and motorcycles. It manufactures motor vehicles in seven different countries and is one of the top 12 producers of motor vehicles in the world.

In 2017, it reported earnings of €8.2 billion and employs 130,000 employees worldwide.

The Partnership

Activate Business School has delivered BMW Group’s ProLead programme since 2015. It is a combined leadership and engineering programme for production team leaders at level 4 in which over 100 BMW Group employees have participated. The programme has been redesigned by BMW Group, with support from Activate Business School, to conform to Apprenticeship Standards for a manufacturing environment. It is now an approved Higher Apprenticeship and BMW Group’s Standard.

The aim of this partnership is to develop a local pipeline for talent with annual targets of 150 work experience placements, 40 BMW Group apprenticeship applications and 8 Apprenticeship starts. The partnership has consistently met and exceeded these targets.

The Benefits

The college group has greatly benefited from this partnership because it offers students innovative ‘real world’ project-based learning. BMW sponsors career-enhancing projects, like the MINI BEV, that expose students to the experience of designing new products and procedures, hitting sustainability targets and calculating project economics like the cost of manufacture vs potential return.

BMW Group also supports learners with wider employability skills. For instance, in the early stages of the partnership, BMW Group guided City of Oxford College students through a full interview simulation to develop their employability skills. Furthermore, BMW Group is one of a group of key partners that have co-delivered meaningful English and maths projects for 100 learners in the college. By contextualising these curricula as workplace issues, they improved Technology learners’ maths values, ranking the Activate Learning students 4th nationally.

The benefits for BMW Group of working with Activate Learning are twofold. Firstly, the education group allows the employer to focus on their STEM education outreach activities into schools, colleges and UTCs. This, in turn, supports the employer by providing a pool of able apprentice applicants.

Secondly, by working together, they have combined the employer’s advanced manufacturing expertise and the college group’s curriculum to design a Higher Apprenticeship Standard which will be used by BMW Group and delivered by Activate Business School. This Standard is also very beneficial for the industry overall because it can be adapted for use by other manufacturing organisations in the UK.

What they say

Hear first hand from colleges and employers about their experiences.

Partnering with industry-leading companies such as BMW Group is essential to us, both from the perspective of developing our curriculum, but also for the important role they play in delivering our Learning Philosophy.

Our Learning Philosophy works on the principle that a student’s brain is more receptive to learning when we feel emotionally secure. We are stimulated to learn when we see purpose and relevance in what we are doing.

By immersing our learners in real workplace experiences with employers like BMW Group, it gives them a clear line of sight to their future careers and inspires them to succeed.

Sally Dicketts CBE, Chief Executive and
Principal at Activate Learning

Want to know more?

For a collection of all the great case studies featured as part of the campaign, please check out our employer engagement prospects.

We’d also love to hear from employer about how Collab Group colleges can work with you to help fill your business needs.