UK E-learning Market Briefing (June 2006)

Typically the dog days of summer are associated with a dog of a sales pipeline for e-learning companies, as decisions get pushed out until back-to-school times, and companies look again at those, um, internal projects while they wait for the bigger contracts to drop.

But this summer is starting out very differently, with a buzz of tender activity almost drowning out the football chanting. Well, not almost. If fact, not even nearly. But you get the idea...

Our round up of e-learning contract wins shows that there are some juicy pieces of work being awarded too. The employees of these companies can look forward to an extra burger at the company barbecue:

Walkgrove: secured a three year contract with the Scottish Executive

Bourne: won sixty hours of bespoke e-learning

Skillsoft: awarded a £380,000 contract from Pilkington which has helped almost double their share price this year.

So who else is enjoying a hot summer? Read on to find out.

Brightwave announced that they have recently delivered a games based solution for IKEA. The e-learning programme has a Cluedo-style theme and learners move around IKEA stores to solve a mystery. In the process they learn how to handle and process stock using IKEA's stock management system. 

The course is scheduled to be rolled out to all new co-workers in the UK as part of their induction process. We really like the way Brightwave continues to develop engaging e-learning and this reinforces their reputation as one of the UK’s most creative e-learning companies. We think it was Professor Plum in the study with the dagger (note: dagger requires some assembly). Find out more here.

Fuel continue to lead the way in mobile learning, they have been awarded the contract to deliver all of 02’s training to sales staff across the country on employees’ XDAs. The first eight courses are being rolled out this month.

Fuel have also recently launched a new 20-strong suite of customisable generic courseware, comprising a library of legal and financial compliance, risk, ethics and CSR programmes. Fuel have partnered with subject matter experts – the likes of Eukleia, CRG, Eversheds and SAS – to develop the media-rich, scenario-based content.

Walkgrove are confirming their reputation as a leading player in the public sector and health sectors. They recently won a three year contract with the Scottish Executive to update training materials and provide training services to medical practitioners who wish to be appointed as Approved Medical Practitioners (AMPs) under section 22 of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment)(Scotland) Act 2003.

Walkgrove have also recently been engaged by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland to design and deliver training for their part-time commissioners. This follows their award winning blended learning solution for induction training of tribunal members.

Bourne Training has won a contract from University for Industry (Ufi) to develop sixty hours of bespoke e-learning as part of the second phase of a new range of IT skills courses within the 'IT for Life' and 'IT for Work' portfolios.

LINE continue to strengthen their position in the defence sector. They have been commissioned by the Directorate of Individual Training (Army)'s Training Advisory Group to develop two suites of courseware on raising cultural awareness for personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

LINE have also moved offices after growing their staff by some 40% in the last year thanks to some long term contracts. Best wishes to Piers and the team in the new offices. Like the new website by the way!

Skillsoft have won a three-year contract with Pilkington worth nearly £380,000 to supply management, business, health & safety, IT and desktop-skills training to its 24,000-strong workforce. Skillsoft also announced their latest quarterly report with revenue up to over $54m for the quarter. While the Skillsoft share price has some way to go to revisit the heady heights a few year ago when shares were $13 a share, I wish I had bought some at the start of this year. The Skillsoft share price shown below has increased from $3.5 to over $6. Easy in hindight, isn't it...


On the outsourcing front it was interesting to note that Accenture have won a major outsourcing contract with Unilever. The agreement is designed to transform Unilever's HR operations and functions through greater efficiency and effectiveness as part of the company's "One Unilever" program. Accenture also will provide Unilever with a range of learning services. The scope of the work will cover Unilever's three geographic regions – Europe, Americas and Asia/AMET (Africa, Middle East and Turkey).

Not surprisingly Lisa Rowan, IDC's program manager for HR and Talent Management services research claims "this agreement supports IDC's view that more and more global companies are fast realising that outsourcing can be an important part of an HR program that seeks to provide not only efficient but also effective ways to maximize the performance of their global workforces."

We like it when June seems more like October on the e-learning contract award stakes - let's hope it stays that way...(weather aside, of course).

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