One way universities can partner with business is by offering work based degrees, where employers can gain new qualifications without leaving the workplace.

Academic staff design courses that allow employees to continue adding value while they learn.

NCUB members Anglia Ruskin University offer such courses through the Degrees at Work department. One of their partnerships is with Luminus Group, who provide socially responsible homes, employment and real estate services from their base in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

Here Alan Haines, Executive Head of HR and Business Support at Luminus, talks about his experience with Degrees at Work at Anglia Ruskin.

Who are Luminus and what is your role there?

Luminus is a premium brand organisation with over 7,000 homes and 45,000 customers across Cambridgeshire. Luminus employs over 250 staff providing a wide range of vital services to our customers. These include repairs and maintenance, benefits advice, development of new homes, dealing with anti-social behaviour and managing sheltered housing schemes for elderly residents.

As Executive Head of HR and Business Support, I have the responsibility to manage and develop key areas of the business. My key objectives are to develop the best workforce in the UK, and to provide the best possible services and homes for all of our customers.

What makes you an award winning employer and what are your broader Learning and Development initiatives?

The bedrock of our success is the effective leadership pioneered by Dr Chan Abraham, our Group Chief Executive. He is nationally recognised for his unique brand of inspirational leadership and for placing the wellbeing of staff at the forefront of his organisational planning. Our Organisational Wholeness Strategy, championed by Dr Abraham, is integral to our success. It contains the various initiatives and activities that we offer our staff to motivate, inspire and care for them.

After performing a detailed survey of all employees, there is a renewed focus on ensuring all employees have access to relevant training.

What is your relationship with Anglia Ruskin University?

Our close relationship is built upon the experience and contact that Dr Chan Abraham has had with the University. He graduated from Anglia Ruskin in 2000 with an MSc in Leadership & Management and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration in 2012. He is an active member of the Alumni, sponsors the annual Success in Business Award and freely gives his support to the University as a visiting speaker.

What are the benefits of aligning your business with a University like Anglia Ruskin?

Anglia Ruskin is now our University of choice for any academic courses that we may wish to place our staff on. Anglia Ruskin is innovative and business orientated with a growing reputation in the eastern region. This is our base of operation, it makes sense to partner with someone who has a similar regional strategic vision.

What advice would you give to Learning and Development professionals about people development?

Look for great attitude in people. The desire and willingness to learn and develop and improve is crucial.

Alan Haines is Executive Head of HR and Business Support at Luminus

Find out more about Degrees at Work at Anglia Ruskin.

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