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August 8, 1988

IBM UK BRINGS MASTERS DEGREE COURSES TO ITS FACTORY FLOOR IN SCOTLAND

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM is making good use of its relationship with Strathclyde University in Scotland, with a move that exemplifies why the company is well-night universally regarded as an excellent employer. Any IBM staff member, be they accountant, computer programmer or assembly line worker, will be eligible to be interviewed for a three year Masters Degree course in computer integrated manufacture. The course features instruction in flexible manufacturing systems, product design for integrated manufacturing, system simulation and project management, along with many other areas. The beauty of the course, which has 24 places, is that it will be done in-plant, at IBM’s Spango Valley premises in Greenock on Clydeside. All tuition will be carried out during company time and at IBM’s expense. The idea originated in the university’s application to the Department of Trade & Industry for funding for video production as part of a long distance education course in microelectronics, which was made in June 1987. The advisory committee which was helping assess the applicants had IBM’s Jim McLelland among its members and as Technical Programmes Manager he was well acquainted with Strathclyde’s ability to provide training and courses in this field. McLelland suggested that while they were waiting for their request to be processed, a live on-site course could be initiated at Greenock. The advantage for IBM lies in harnessing the industrial experience which it feels is present on the assembly line and elsewhere in its plants but which needs to be identified and refined. The company, which is keen to educate its workforce, says participants will spend one afternoon a week studying under the guidance of a tutor from the university. Ian Simpson, a lecturer in Manufacture and Engineering Management in Strathclyde, emphasises that this is no stop-gap scheme, and will run its entire three-year course, which begins in November, independently of the Trade & Industry video project.

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