The Springboard programme’s growing success for women in the Oman

Some 400 women in Oman have now completed the Springboard women’s development programme.


Developed by the UK-based Springboard Consultancy, the Springboard women’s development programme enables women to identify the clear, practical and realistic steps that they want to take to make a better world for themselves at work and home, while building both the practical skills and the confidence to take these steps.


Ayesha Salim Al Shoily, a licensed Springboard trainer with Ooredoo, based in Oman, recently completed delivering a Springboard programme to 150 women – all of whom are professionals working in the Oman Government sector. The programme was supported, as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments and the memorandum of understanding signed between Ooredoo and several Government sectors, by Ooredoo, the Qatar-based digital telecoms company.


Having been trained and licensed as a Springboard trainer some six years ago, Ayesha has now led Springboard programmes for over 400 women in Oman. Some 200 of these were trained only last year so, says Ayesha, this shows that the programme is gaining momentum within the region.


Ayesha Salim Al Shoily.


Ayesha added, “As part of their development, women on the Springboard programme are encouraged to devise and deliver a project. On the recently completed programme, the women delivered over 30 projects – most of which are charitable in nature.


“These projects were showcased at a conference and exhibition that marked these women’s graduation.”


As an indication of the Springboard programme’s growth in status and value in Oman, the Under-Secretary at the Civil Service Ministry hosted the first such graduation ceremony. The Minister of the Civil Service hosted the graduation ceremony in 2015 – and this year’s graduation was hosted by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Affairs, HE Mohammed bin Salim Al Toobi.


“Many of the women choose to continue delivering their charity projects after they’ve graduated from the Springboard programme,” said Ayesha. “In response – and to encourage this trend – the Ministry of Civil Service has now decided to officially support those groups who continue working on their projects.”


“Ooredoo believes that the Sultanate’s ambitious female population is one of its strongest assets,” said Kumail Al Moosawi, Ooredoo Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer. “They have important roles to play in business, industry, government, and academia; their achievements helping power Oman’s continued success and prosperity.


“We welcome progressive programmes like Springboard that help them fulfil their ambitions and make their aspirations a reality as we work together for a better tomorrow.”


This year’s graduation – showing those on the Springboard programme. Ayesha Salim Al Shoily is seated in the centre of the front row.

Sprint confidence and encouragement boost for female graduates

The Springboard Consultancy’s ‘Sprint’ programme answers recent concerns about female graduates being able to get jobs.


So says Karen Daly-Gherabi, Managing Director of The Springboard Consultancy (SBC), a UK-based international training company specialising in women’s development issues.


SBC's Karen Daly-Gherabi.


Recent research from The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) reveals that female graduates in the UK are less likely to apply for – but are more likely to land – a place on a graduate training scheme than their male peers. The AGR’s recently published Diversity and Inclusion Survey found that, although only 47 percent of female graduates apply to graduate schemes, female graduates represent some 49 percent of graduate scheme hires.


While over half of all industry sectors reported increases in their gender diversity year-on-year, employers reported that student perceptions of their industry was one of the biggest challenges in attracting a more diverse workforce.


According to AGR’s CEO, Stephen Isherwood, “Many female students don’t apply for the top programmes when they should. There are opportunities out there and these candidates are more likely to succeed – so we need to address why they’re not applying.


“Women are hugely successful in the selection process. We just need them to realise it,” he said. “We need to boost confidence and encourage more female graduates to reach their potential.”


Karen Daly-Gherabi, of SBC, said, “Boosting confidence and enabling female undergraduates and graduates to reach their potential are just two of the key aspects of the Sprint programme. Designed – in 2013 – to tackle study, career and personal development issues for undergraduate women, Sprint has been built on work carried out with the University of Cambridge and further developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford.”


So far, over 70% of Sprint participants say they’re now more assertive – and are better at setting realistic goals and action points, managing their time and working more productively.


Professor Peter Lambert, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Learning and Teaching at the University of Bath, said that, having experienced the Sprint programme, “Students will have gained self-confidence and self-belief – above all, belief in their skills, their abilities and their future career.”


Currently, some 22 UK universities run Sprint programmes for their female students – and corporate sponsors of these programmes include RBS; Enterprise rent a car; M & G; Ernst and Young; Shell; BP; AXA Insurance; Barclays; Arup; Morgan Stanley; Microsoft; IBM; Blackstone; Oliver Wyman; TD Security; Deloittes; Capita; Alphasights; Improbable; Mott Macdonald; Shoosmiths, and Saint-Gobain.


Georgina Pullen, Senior Training Consultant at SBC, said, “The Sprint programme grew from research showing the large pay gap between men and women after graduating from Oxford University, even though they hold the same class degrees in the same subjects. A similar survey, by the Higher Education Careers Unit, measuring the earnings of 17,000 recent graduates, discovered that 70% of women graduates were earning less than £24,000, compared with 55% of men – even in subject areas where women’s participation was greater than men’s, such as law.”


Ten key issues covered in the Sprint programme are:

  1. Participants’ personal power and influence
  2. Identifying participants’ values and attitudes
  3. Dealing with change and stress
  4. Participants’ vision and direction
  5. How politics works inside organisations
  6. Managing time effectively
  7. Using assertiveness positively
  8. Networking and building contacts
  9. Planning for the future and setting ambitious goals
  10. How to ‘put yourself across’ positively and be memorable, especially in job applications and interviews


eXact learning solutions signs a groundbreaking escrow agreement with NCC Group

Global learning company, eXact learning solutions, has signed an escrow agreement with NCC Group, a FTSE 250 listed global expert in cyber security and risk mitigation.


Valerio Torda, eXact learning solutions’ Managing Director, explained, “We value our customers and work hard to deliver software solutions which meet their key business requirements – as well as build strong relationships based on trust.


Valerio Torda, of eXact learning solutions.


“We recognize our responsibility to help these customers ensure their business continuity through the long term performance and availability of our software,” he added. “That’s why we’re taking the groundbreaking step of working in partnership with the global information assurance provider, NCC Group, to offer our customers business continuity protection through this escrow agreement.


“Under the terms of the agreement, we’ve deposited the eXact learning Suite source code – including that for our flagship product the eXact learning content management system (LCMS) – within NCC Group’s secure facilities. This means that, from now on, we can offer this extra level of security to our customers – so that, in the extremely unlikely case of something happening to our software or company, our customers will always be able to utilize our software.”


Currently protecting over 9,000 business critical software applications under comprehensive escrow agreements, on the behalf of licensees worldwide, NCC Group is a FTSE 250 listed global expert in cyber security and risk mitigation, working with businesses to protect their brand, value and reputation against the ever-evolving threat landscape. Headquartered in Manchester, UK, with more than 30 offices across the world, NCC Group employs more than 1,800 people and is a trusted advisor to 15,000 clients worldwide. Among other things, it offers a range of different escrow agreements.


Under the terms of eXact learning solutions’ escrow agreement, the company supplies NCC Group with a copy of the source code for their customers’ applications. NCC Group holds this, securely, on the customer’s behalf. This source code is regularly updated to ensure that the source code held by NCC Group is always up-to-date and reflects the current version of the customer’s application.


“In the extremely unlikely event that eXact learning solutions becomes unable to meet its contractual obligations, NCC Group will release the source code to the customer, allowing that customer to maintain and correct its software without disruption to its operations,” Mr Torda stated.


The word ‘escrow’ derives from the Old French word ‘escroue’, meaning a scrap of paper or a scroll of parchment. This indicated the deed that a third party held until a transaction was completed. An escrow is:

  • A contractual arrangement in which a third party receives and disburses money, documents or software for the primary transacting parties, with the disbursement dependent on conditions agreed to by the transacting parties, or
  • An account established by a broker for holding funds on behalf of the broker’s principal or some other person until the consummation or termination of a transaction, or
  • A trust account held in the borrower’s name to pay obligations such as property taxes and insurance premiums.

Source code escrow is the deposit of the source code of software with a third party escrow agent. Escrow is typically requested by a party licensing software (the licensee), to ensure maintenance of the software.

Springboard helps 1,000 women employees of Rolls-Royce plc

Some 1,000 women employed by Rolls-Royce plc, have completed the Springboard Women’s Development programme.


Rolls-Royce plc, a global company providing highly-efficient integrated power and propulsion solutions and one of the world’s most famous brands, began implementing the Springboard programmes in 1997.


In the late 1990s, there was no mechanism in Rolls-Royce for single gender learning and development programmes for women but a group of female managers – together with some male advocates – had a vision to change things. Among this group was Eleanor Radbourne, who’s currently the company’s Head of Global Talent Management & Diversity and Inclusion.


“The Springboard programme is a good fit for Rolls-Royce,” said Eleanor. “It was originally pitched at non-management women whose careers had stalled and women who wanted development opportunities. The ability to run the programmes with up to 30 women means that large numbers of women have access to good quality development in a highly cost-effective way.


“The Springboard networking approach, in a confidential uplifting environment, means that Rolls-Royce’s women employees benefit from the experiences of other women and, in particular, the guest speakers,” she added.


Developed by The Springboard Consultancy, a UK-based international training company specialising in addressing women’s development issues, the Springboard Women’s Development programme enables women to identify the clear, practical and realistic steps that they want to take to make a better world for themselves at work and home, while building the practical skills and confidence to take these steps. The programme is delivered – currently in 45 countries – over a three month period, through an extensive network of licensed local trainers and, so far, has been used by over 240,000 women around the world.


“Women from any of the company’s sites can attend and there are no restrictions or qualifying criteria other than self-nomination – and support from line management,” said Jan Morris, of Ruby Tuesday Training, an experienced freelance – and licensed Springboard – trainer who has delivered over 40 Springboard programmes for Rolls-Royce plc since 1997. “Rolls-Royce works around the world, so we’ve had women attend Springboard programmes from countries including France, Portugal and Canada.


“There’s now a great deal of diversity represented among Springboard participants – in terms of jobs performed, areas of the company represented, staff grades, nationalities and ethnicity,” continued Jan. “Today’s ‘Springboarders’ accept accountability, take control of their career progression and are much more empowered. They believe that they can influence change.”


To find out more about Rolls-Royce and its ‘Springboard experience’, visit the Springboard Consultancy website:

Delegates on a recent Springboard programme, held at Rolls-Royce in Bristol.

eXact learning solutions reveals new content model skins

The global learning company, eXact learning solutions, has recently updated the ‘HM’ content model associated with its learning content management system (LCMS).


Now in its third version, the content model – known as ‘HM’ – is intended to help users create engaging learning materials which are delivered online.


Fabrizio Giorgini, eXact learning solutions’ R&D Manager, said, “HM3.0 lets users choose and personalize each learning package’s ‘skin’. Indeed, we’ve introduced two new skins in addition to the standard – ‘classic’ – skin.


“There’s a business skin, for use with content that targets a corporate audience,” he added. “It includes all the tools present in eXact’s classic skin, including navigation, resources, glossary, help section and print.


“There’s also a ‘kids’ skin, which is appropriate for those – notably in the education sector – who create content for pupils and younger students. The skin incorporates commands in a control panel and can be used by learners ranging from toddlers to adults, scaling according to awareness and skills.”


Fabrizio Giorgini, of eXact learning solutions.


In addition, HM3.0’s grid and panel allow users – with one click of a mouse – to modify the colours and any logo displayed on screen. HM operates seamlessly with the other products in eXact learning solutions’ suite – notably the eXact learning Packager authoring tool and its online counterpart, Online Editor.


To help explain this technology – along with other aspects of authoring on the eXact learning solutions’ platform – to users and potential users, the Italy-based eXact learning solutions is staging a webinar on 27th July. The webinar is another in the company’s summer series, called ‘eXactly on Wednesdays’.


Federico Dondero, of eXact learning solutions, said: “While the focus of the session is on HM 3.0, the webinar – eXactly on Wednesdays: HM 3.0 – will also explain some of the contemporary features of eXact learning solutions’ authoring tools and LCMS.”


Federico Dondero, of eXact learning solutions.


Those wanting to know more about HM3.0 can attend the webinar, being held on Wednesday 27th July at 17.00 to 17.45 CET (16.00 – 16.45 BST, 11.00 – 11.45 EDT and 08.00 – 08.45 PDT). To register for this event, visit:

The Sepsis Trust can save more lives with help from Create eLearning

Create eLearning’s mobile-friendly e-learning portal is helping The UK Sepsis Trust to achieve its aim of saving at least 13,500 lives every year in the UK.


The UK Sepsis Trust (UKST) is committed to changing the way the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) deals with sepsis, as well as increasing public awareness and supporting those affected by sepsis.


Georgina McNamara, the UKST’s Executive Lead Nurse for Education and one of the Trust’s founders, conducts in-house training sessions on recognising the signs and symptoms of sepsis, principally for groups of health professionals. She explained, “The problem that I and my UKST colleagues face is that an increasing number of people want you to tell them about sepsis and how to combat it effectively – but we all have full-time jobs in the health service. So, to meet this growing need, we realised that we needed to produce e-learning materials that deal with sepsis and the issues that it raises.”


Knowing that e-learning materials need a platform – or a learning management system (LMS) – to contain, distribute and manage them, as well as monitor their usage, Georgina chose the Create eLearning mobile-friendly e-learning portal that allows users to build, host, deliver and track e-learning, as well as unite all their online training and coaching. Create eLearning’s LMS can be accessed in the Cloud, offline and off-grid – and it’s SCORM compliant.


“While it’s taken us a while to produce the e-learning materials themselves, Carol-Ann Stevenson and her team at Create eLearning have always been extremely supportive and helpful,” said Georgina. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked of them – often going above and beyond the requirements of our contract.”


Currently, there is a ‘major’ e-learning programme on sepsis available for health professionals, and a series of short modules for both the public and health professionals, known as ‘Sepsis Savvy’. These Sepsis Savvy modules were launched to an audience including members of both Houses of the UK Parliament, in April 2016, at an event in Portcullis House, in London.


Many centres throughout the world have now adopted the Sepsis Six, which has been associated with decreased mortality, decreased length of stay in hospital, and fewer intensive care bed days.


Georgina revealed that the UKST plans to produce e-learning materials covering all medical aspects of sepsis – as it affects gynaecology, obstetrics, paediatrics, emergency medicine, critical care, community care, pre-hospital care, walk-in clinics, paramedics and general practitioners.


Georgina continued, “At the moment we have capacity to cater for 500 users on the Create eLearning platform – and these places are being rapidly taken up. Of course, these are very early days and, given the increasing demand for UKST’s services, especially from healthcare professionals around the country, we’ve already put in place options to grow that capacity in increments of 500 users.


“We expect the demand for our online learning materials to grow – for example, from nurses who need to revalidate, who will therefore need to update their competency in such issues as sepsis. Ultimately we’d like to see recognition of sepsis become part of mandatory training for all health professionals.


“Moreover, by making these learning materials available online – via any delivery device – it means that they can be accessed at any time of the day or night. This should help health professionals who may have time to study at any time during their shifts.”


To read the Sepsis Trust’s story, visit the Create eLearning website.

Badging and transitioning from e-Reading to e-Everything – a look into the future of e-learning

Bryan Eldridge, Senior Business Consultant with the global learning company, eXact learning solutions, is speaking at EDULEARN16, in Spain, in July.


Looking critically into the future of e-learning, the titles of Bryan’s two sessions are: ‘E-learning 2.0: is your organization ready to transition from e-Reading to e-Everything?’ and ‘lessons learned for creating an organizational digital badging strategy’.


Bryan advocates that organizations develop a Model of Instruction (MOI) – the conceptual representation, via templates and activities, of an instructional strategy intended to effectively support a given learning outcome or competency within a specific context across both formal and formal contexts.


“An MOI approach provides a systematic strategy to ensure that the organizations’ overarching learning and training goals are integrated regardless of the components,” said Bryan. “It helps the organization to move from an ‘e-Reading’ to an ‘e-Everything’ model – and provides a framework for incorporating and supporting both formal and informal activities.”


Bryan’s second presentation focuses on the importance of badges within e-learning paths and processes.


EDULEARN, the eighth annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, is being held in Barcelona, Spain, from 4th to 6th July. Those unable to be present at EDULEARN to hear Bryan’s radical and forward-looking views on the future of online learning, can obtain a precis of his views by contacting eXact learning solutions.


EDULEARN is one of the largest international education conferences for lecturers, researchers, technologists and professionals from the educational sector. After eight years, it has become a reference event where more than 700 experts from 80 countries gather to present their projects and share their knowledge on teaching and learning methodologies, as well as educational innovations.

eXact learning solutions releases the latest version of its LCMS

The global learning company, eXact learning solutions, is releasing a new version of its learning content management system (LCMS).


This new version – known as ‘M16’ – includes some major upgrades and brings important changes to the Project Management area of the platform. The new version of the LCMS includes fully interactive Gantt chart software, enabling project managers to manage a project directly from the dashboard – including assigning tasks, setting deadlines and so on.


M16 also features major updates to the LCMS’s Online Editor. These bring the Online Editor closer the company’s authoring tool, eXact learning Packager, by offering, among other things, full support for interactions, along with theme personalization.


eXact learning Packager offers users HTML5 templates to make creating screens and courses merely a matter of dragging and dropping raw assets (audio, images, video and so on) into a visual tree structure representing the template.


“M16 also offers users enhanced graphics, including a new set of icons for greater usability, as well as the relocation of some buttons and panels for easier navigation,” commented Fabrizio Giorgini, eXact learning solutions’ R&D Manager.


Fabrizio Giorgini, of eXact learning solutions.


To help explain the new technology involved in M16 to users and potential users of its LCMS, eXact learning solutions is staging a webinar on 29th June. The webinar is the first of the company’s summer series, called ‘eXactly on Wednesdays’.


Federico Dondero, of eXact learning solutions, said: “While the focus of the session is on M16, the webinar – eXactly on Wednesdays: M16 – will also explain some of the contemporary features of eXact learning solutions’ authoring tools.”


Those wanting to know more about M16 can attend the webinar, being held on Wednesday 29th June at 17.00 to 17.45 CET (16.00 – 16.45 BST, 11.00 – 11.45 EDT and 08.00 – 08.45 PDT). To register for this event, visit:

E-learning is key to the future of education and learning, claims Create eLearning

The mobile-friendly e-learning portal producer, Create eLearning, has published an e-book outlining, ‘12 Reasons why the future of education and learning rests with eLearning’.


Citing research that states that 54 per cent of employees now consider L&D programmes to be of greater importance than annual salary when it comes to choosing a job, the e-book acknowledges that, ‘education and learning have become the cornerstone of any successful career’. It adds that, ‘as technology moves forward and the world shrinks, education becomes more and more global’.


Arguing that education and learning need to make use of the technology that is increasingly pervading every aspect of everybody’s lives, the e-book’s authors put forward 12 reasons for the continued rise of e-learning. These include that e-learning:

  • Is affordable
  • Content is easy to create and deliver
  • Content can be distributed to almost anyone, almost anywhere at almost anytime
  • Encourages user-generated content
  • Is ‘more informal’ and certainly encourages informal learning


The book also points out that:

  • Mobile learning is becoming popular,
  • Social learning is here to stay and
  • More learning is needed more frequently by workers in today’s fast-paced workplace


The e-book is available – free – from


“Moreover, the ability to track learning activities with experience API (xAPI) features is a game changer,” said Mark Taggart, Create eLearning’s CEO. “xAPIs are e-learning software features that allow learning content and learning management systems (LCMSs/ LMSs) to communicate with each other in such a way that helps record and track all kinds of learning experiences.


Mark Taggart.


“This quantifiable, sharable and trackable information helps you know whether or not the learning was effective – and that makes LMSs the best friend of e-learning.”


Mark added, “The sheer number of LMSs currently on the market – there are some 700 of them – can confuse buyers.


“However, the Create eLearning system supports many API standards and can integrate with many HR, ERP, CRM platforms via Single Sign On, Active Directory, LDAP, SAML, web services and so on. This enables the automated sending of user and training metadata to third party systems.”


Create eLearning ensures that its platform is HTML5 compliant. It’s built with PHP on a Zend Framework and hosted by Amazon Web Services in the US, EU and Asia Regions.


Mark formulated the concept for Create eLearning’s multi-layered training platform having worked in the heavily-regulated Clinical Trials industry, where his clients needed to train thousands of patients, doctors and nurses, via some 67 languages, across all time zones.


A fan of Apple and Netflix, Mark feels that the Create eLearning platform is like Netflix for training, with the added advantage of allowing working offline on low-cost devices. He commented, “This is an important consideration, particularly for the developing world where affordable education and training is needed.”

Create eLearning is re-confirmed as meeting the ISO 9001 quality standard

The mobile-friendly e-learning portal producer, Create eLearning, has passed its ISO 9001 surveillance audit. ISO 9001 is a quality management standard that helps organisations demonstrate that they deliver a consistent high level of service.


In addition, Create eLearning has Investors in People (IIP) Silver Standard. It also adheres to IT security standards ISO2701, 21 CFR Part 11, HIPAA, EU Privacy Directive and Safe Harbor.


Carol-Ann Stevenson, Head of the Customer Success Team at Create eLearning, commented, “The recent ISO 9001 audit checked that the company is still complaint with the standard, following its initial accreditation was issued last year. The auditor was more than happy with our internal processes and decided that we are adhering fully to the standard.”


Carol-Ann Stevenson, of Create eLearning.


In addition to meeting these standards as a company, Create eLearning ensures that its platform is HTML5 compliant. It’s built with PHP on a Zend Framework and hosted by Amazon Web Services in the US, EU and Asia Regions.


Its AWS, Elasti-Cloud, media management, storage buckets, automated load balancing, mirroring and auto-failover ensure:

  • Rapid server response times
  • The intelligent compression of content makes playback on poor connections or going offline possible
  • Increased redundancy, scalability, security, and ability to invoke Disaster Recovery automatically


Create eLearning’s managing director, Mark Taggart, said, “The system supports many API standards and can integrate with many HR, ERP, CRM platforms via Single Sign On, Active Directory, LDAP, SAML, web services and so on. This enables the automated sending of user and training metadata to third party systems.”


Mark formulated the concept for Create eLearning’s multi-layered training platform having worked for many years in the heavily-regulated Clinical Trials industry. His clients needed to train thousands of patients, doctors and nurses, in as many as 67 languages, across all time zones, on how to use data capture and patient compliance technologies to remain Good Clinical Practice Compliant (GCP).


Mark’s problem was that the existing LMS and eLearning Course building tools:

  • Were unaffordable and/or hard to use/deploy
  • Did not support the many time-zones, languages or fonts that clients needed
  • Would not work on mobile devices or offline where internet connectivity was slow or non-existent
  • Would not integrate with the master system to give users a single sign on, and/or
  • Were unable to meet the stringent security needs of the FDA and EMA for standards, such as HIPAA, 21 CFR Part 11, EU Privacy Directive and Safe Harbor


So, in 2010, he raised capital to build what became Create eLearning – an intuitive, easy, fast, multi-cultural platform designed to make training technology available for all, in a number of languages.


A fan of Apple and Netflix, Mark feels that the Create eLearning platform is like Netflix for training, with the added obvious advantage of allowing working offline on low- cost devices. He added, “This is an important consideration, particularly for the developing world where affordable education and training is needed.”