A Birmingham project which has worked with more than 125 businesses across the West Midlands has joined with one of the region’s major employers to focus on development leadership skills.

Business & Learning Connections, based at Aston University, uses multi-media to produce video and audio material to capture business expertise for learning purposes and its links with business to promote skills initiatives.

Its most recent collaboration has been with Edgbaston-based National Express and GoSkills, the region’s transport-focused sector skills council.

Business & Learning Connections, funded by Advantage West Midlands ,has worked with National Express to produce a DVD, the focus of which demonstrates the benefits to businesses enabling the “upskilling” of their workforce as well as recruiting from outside.

The National Express programme has involved staff such as drivers, mechanics and administration personnel going on to become team leaders or line managers. The leadership development programme covers subjects such as time management, personal development programmes, interview techniques and presentation skills amongst others.

National Express Group chief executive Richard Bowker said: “We have been able to equip our managers with a growing range of leadership skills helping to take the business forward. We have seen a huge change in people’s confidence and motivation because of this.”

Pat Jackson, Director of Skills at Advantage West Midlands said: “We need to work harder than ever to ensure our regional workforce is skilled in the face of rising competition. Businesses that invest in new products and services and in the skills of their people will be more able to withstand the enormous challenges of the current economic climate.

“IThere are encouraging signs of progress in the West Midlands with greater numbers of firms committed to training and development of their staff.

“The video promoting the Leadership and Management Programme demonstrates the real business advantages of leadership and management training for senior business executives looking to expand and grow their own companies.

“The case study provided by National Express provides another crucial example and perspective to help reinforce the benefits to companies of investing more and more in the development of their most valuable assets, employees.”

*See the DVDs on a Business & Learning Connections website www.businessandlearningconnections.co.uk