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Case study

What was the challenge?

The UK’s largest airline, which carries 40 million passengers a year to 170 global destinations, called us in to help straighten out its Learning Academies, where everyone from flight attendants to pilots are trained. It was running six independent academies of varying efficiency and effectiveness, which meant soaring costs and training that was not always suited to the company’s needs.

BA decided it needed to centralise this fractured learning operation, which comprised close to 260 employees around the world. They wanted to make the unit more professional, improve the quality and consistency of teaching and make the most of the investment they put into training staff.

What did we do?

Building on a long-term relationship with BA, in which we have worked on a number of different projects, this was the biggest piece of work we carried out with them.

We worked with executives from across the business and the existing six academies, where each had its own way of working. During the 14-month project we supported BA from the inception of the strategy to the implementation of the new Global Learning Academy, to making sure the change stuck.

Q5’s work broadly fell into four categories:

  1. Programme Management. In partnership with BA’s HR department we drew up the definition, design and delivery of the new academy.
  2. The Business Case. With the BA finance department and the new chief learning officer (CLO) we defined and realised the learning business case, which included centralising budgets.
  3. Organisation Design. We defined and implemented the organisation structure, operating model and job descriptions with the HR team and the CLO.
  4. Communications. Q5 helped define the key communications needed throughout the project to keep the staff fully briefed and on board with the change to operations.
What was the outcome?

BA launched the Global Learning Academy with 262 staff members as a result of the project. We changed the design of the training, taking the best practices of the six academies to create one central method, and cut the time spent on courses from five days to three and a half. Alongside this work we also consolidated and squeezed the existing supplier relationships. It was a massive jigsaw puzzle we helped piece together.

BA liked our work and felt we brought rigour to the process. Any barrier in the road we broke down or went over. The airline had originally envisioned that the work would pay itself back after two or three years, but following our project the savings were delivered in 18 months.