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December 20, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

With non-essential budgets being cut left, right and centre at IBM in 1987, one might have expected that the company’s sponsorship and community programmes would have suffered swingeing reductions, but that is far from the case. The past year hasn’t all been doom and gloom in the IBM camp despite the struggle to restore customary profit levels. In its last – 1986 – financial year IBM UK alone spent UKP1.7m on sponsoring events that ranged from a production of the Trojans by the Welsh National Opera to a business management competition for youngsters on the Youth Training Scheme. 1987 also saw the completion of a project set up in 1986 with the World Wildlife Fund. In a donation worth SF333,000 IBM has installed a System 38 in the Fund’s offices in Switzerland. That was backed up with 25 workstations and an AT which had been attached to 50 workstations by the end of March 1987. Also included were three laser printers and 850Mb of disk storage, an office automation program called Personal Services and a General Ledger financial software. By June this year a project management system for 300 Wildlife projects in over 90 countries had also been installed. On an international level, the IBM companies in West Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain and Finland all made donations to the Wildlife Fund. At IBM Europe, the company’s Director of Corporate Scientific Programs, Dr Herb Budd, has been involved in talks with Dr John Hanks, Director General of the Fund with a view to forming a partnership to fight global, environmental and resource problems. They are hoping to use remote sensing, electronic communications, software and artificial intelligence in conjunction with low cost computers to address the threat to wild animal populations, and to foster development in Third World countries. Youth Training SchemeBack at home, April 1987 saw the launch of a competition organised by the Industrial Society -sponsored by IBM UK and the government’s Manpower Services Commission – to initiate Youth Training Scheme participants in the art of management. All entrants received a YTS Enterprise Challenger Starter Pack designed to encourage their entrepreneurial skills. A series of heats began in autumn, with teams of trainees managing a simulated business. After regional finals the winners will go on to the grand final, which is to be held at IBM’s South Bank offices in March next year. The overall winners will receive an IBM Personal Computer each. Still in the education field, IBM UK is sponsoring an annual symposium on Information Technology and teaching in higher education. The subject will vary each year as will the venue and academics and non-academics will meet to discuss how computers can be introduced into teaching practices. The first event took place from September 15 to 18 this year at Cambridge University. IBM is already involved in linking PCs in student halls of residence to the university mainframe as part of a project – known as Project Granta – going on there to investigate computing needs into the next decade. And keeping up its policy of lending managers to charities to give the benefits of their skills, senior manager Fred Dickenson is on secondment to the Save the Children Fund. The most recent venture is a concert by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Scottish Philharmonic Singers in Greenock Town Hall, Greenock, Strathclyde on Saturday, December 19. The figures for 1987 are not yet in, but IBM Corp as a whole contributed $187m in cash, equipment and other resources in its last full year.

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