UCL & Vodafone launch training for a new generation in regulation and public policy
23 November 2015
UCL is working with Vodafone to design, develop and deliver a specialised, professionally-orientated education programme. As part of Vodafone's Academy for Governance and Policy the programme aims to equip those in developing countries with education and qualifications to help raise industry standards in various regulated markets.
For corporations in emerging markets to operate effectively in any highly regulated industry they need staff skilled in understanding, developing and enforcing regulations and policies.
Vodafone are an established telecoms provider in many such areas, including Africa, the Middle East and Asia. However, they've struggled to source local candidates when recruiting for roles that require knowledge of policy formulation and regulation - a problem not just limited to the telecommunications industry.
Vodafone, through its philanthropic arm, wanted to develop a Public Policy Scholarship Programme as part of a wider 'Academy for Governance and Policy'. Initially aimed at those working within the telecoms industry, it would have long-term scope to benefit other regulated markets.
They wanted to develop a talent pipeline of young, educated professionals and also to help raise standards within regulated industries overall. Vodafone's vision was to make education and qualifications more accessible and provide opportunities to a wider group of young people in developing economic areas.
Vodafone realised they lacked some of the resources and pedagogical experience to deliver such training themselves so they approached various globally recognised higher education institutions to partner with and deliver the project. UCL was chosen to be that partner.
A joint team spanning UCL Life Learning and UCL Consultants was assembled and became the initial point of contact for ongoing discussions with Vodafone. They were able to offer a high-level perspective that could source a cross-disciplinary approach from the University as a whole, allowing exploration of the best training solution to meet Vodafone's needs.
The resulting bespoke programme, delivered part-time both in London and abroad, will result in a post-graduate qualification for the student cohort.
The project will take particular advantage of UCL's unique Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP). Established to support the mobilisation of academic and technical expertise within public policy environments, STEaPP currently hosts several Africa-focused research projects and policy engagement activities. STEaPP also already runs a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree programme, designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of early-career professionals. This provided excellent pedagogical foundations for Vodafone's programme.
Jason Blackstock, Head of Department at STEaPP, said:
"This is an excellent example of UCL partnering with a leading international business. This type of specialised educational programme aims to create a pipeline of talent in the developing and emerging economies that can benefit both Vodafone and the domestic policy environment. We're excited to have the opportunity to be developing educational solutions that can provide real life-changing opportunities in countries where STEaPP is already highly research active and policy engaged."
Moving forward in partnership
UCL and Vodafone are collaboratively developing the Academy offering, with UCL providing expertise in academic content, course design and how to best deliver an engaging learning experience. This, coupled with Vodafone's highly developed knowledge of the country-specific telecoms regulatory landscape, will make for a highly effective programme.
The plan is to test the programme with a bespoke workshop for relevant Vodafone staff in late 2015, with the Academy programme on offer in early 2017.
The vision is to expand across multiple countries and include additional regulated sectors to provide training opportunities for as many participants as possible.
Interest from Vodafone's other emerging market teams has been so strong that the training offerings will include many African countries, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar and India from the outset.
Alison Parbutt, Head of Global Programmes at Vodafone, said:
"We're excited to be working with UCL on this project as their ambition matches ours: we want to be able to deliver a high-quality learning experience that provides real opportunities for local young people. The potential for the academy is huge. We are looking forward, after the initial pilot phase, to bringing in other commercial and philanthropic partners to open the Academy up to more markets and countries."
For further related information, please click on the links below:
UCL's Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) website
Vodafone's philanthropic arm: The Vodafone Foundation