Accenture invests 840 million in professional development

26 February 2016

Accenture funnelled more than $840 million into professional development and training in 2015 through its Accenture Connected Learning programme. The firm’s focus on keeping its staff up-to-date on the latest development provides it with a means of staying ahead of changes in the business environment, while staff themselves are engaged through learning as well as having the latest skills at their fingertips.

In the professional services, the company’s talent is one of their most important features and a defining asset for their long term success. In a rapidly changing world, in which operations calls for adaptability and agility, it is becoming more and more important to keep talent abreast of changes that occur in methods of best practice, as well as up-to-date in a range of profession standards.

As part of Accenture’s efforts to keep the strength of its talent up-to-date, the firm invested $841 million into the training and professional development of its staff in 2015. The firm, which employs 373,000 people, provided a total of 15 million hours of training, or around 40 hour per person. According to the firm the training unleashes ideas, drives innovation and helps its staff develop specialised skills needed to serve Accenture’s clients and communities.

Accenture Connected Learning

The consulting firm provides a number of educational channels that hone the capabilities of its staff, including its recently launched Accenture Connected Learning. The umbrella programme provides a blend of classroom-based training and a digital learning environment, which connects the firm’s staff with professionals both inside and outside Accenture. The range of programmes have allowed the company to provide its staff with highly specialised skills at scale, so as to better respond to rapid developments in the business environment.

For staff, gaining access to a range of specialists provides them with a rich environment enabling them to develop their professional capabilities, further sharpen their critical faculty as well as keep up-to-date on best practice - so that they stay relevant to the market and can access enhanced career opportunities.

Connecting classrooms
The firm’s Accenture Connected Learning consists of more than 50 connected classrooms through which the firm’s staff, across a range of locations, are able to participate together in interactive and collaborative settings with a range of global subject experts and the firm’s senior leaders.

In 2016, the firm says that it will double the number of virtual classrooms available. Moreover, the firm further provides more than 24,000 online courses and 900 learning boards – online forums curated by subject experts on which staff can interact and share information and ideas. The courses and forums provide the opportunity for staff to continue to learn outside the traditional classroom setting. Furthermore, the firm has five regional learning centres that provide staff with a traditional learning environment in which to develop its local talent. These centres are dotted across the globe, including Bangalore, India; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; London, England; Madrid, Spain; and St. Charles, Illinois (outside Chicago) in the US; and finally, the firm has developed more than 100 Professional Communities. These communities connect Accenture’s staff across the globe that do similar work, allowing them to easily collaborate and harness the knowledge of its wide range of professionals for a variety of tasks, from professional development to work related needs.

Accenture - Collabration

“Accenture Connected Learning makes learning continuous, flexible and increasingly democratised,” says Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer. “Our people learn best by connecting, collaborating and practicing for the scenarios they will encounter in their work with our clients. From basic skills to industry-specific content, learning is available to all our people anywhere, anytime – and, in many cases, no selection or approval is involved. Simply tap the app and start learning.”

Furthering their staff through education is only one of a number of initiatives implemented by the firm in recent years. Earlier last year, the firm did away with the bell-curve based annual performance management process; while late last year it revealed it would provide its staff with a range of maternity leave options


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PwC teams with University of Bath to boost next generation of AI talent

25 February 2019

As part of a new collaboration between the Government and industry leaders of the UK, PwC has announced a new partnership with the University of Bath. The alliance will see the Big Four firm offer research internships to PhD students, while striving to boost the Artificial Intelligence skills of tomorrow’s workforce.

The UK Government has unveiled a new collaboration between the state and industry to drive skills relating to Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to new heights. A new post-graduate AI drive to boost productivity and create high skilled jobs will now form part of the UK’s modern industrial strategy. As part of this, new industry-funded Master Degrees in AI will be rolled out across 16 dedicated Centres in UK universities to train a new generation of AI PhDs.

The move is part of the UK’s efforts to insulate its economy from the impacts of Brexit. With the country facing an impending exodus from its financial services sector in particular, fostering innovation is increasingly seen as the best way to ensure that Britain avoids a severe fall in growth in the next few years. AI in particular offers opportunities for the economy, with the potential to boost UK GDP by 10% by 2030. As a result, inward investment to the UK AI sector already increased by 17% over the past year, more than the whole of Europe combined, by the Government’s reckoning.

PwC teams with University of Bath to boost next generation of AI talent

As part of this latest initiative to drive up AI skills, the British wing of PwC has partnered with the University of Bath's new Centre for Doctoral Training in Accountable, Responsible and Transparent AI. As part of the agreement, PwC will offer project-based research internships to PhD students, act as an industrial student adviser, and join the strategy and partnerships board of the CDT.

Euan Cameron, UK AI leader at PwC, commented, "To unlock the technology's potential, we need a robust and consistent approach to governing AI systems – paramount not only in managing risk but also in building public trust – a key issue for anyone investing in AI at the moment. The University of Bath is home to some of the leading academics in the world of responsible AI. There is a national need for many more graduate and doctoral-level skills in this area… It's positive to see the government recognise and support the development of the AI.”