AN Essex university is the first and only university in the UK to be nominated for a “Besma”, the UK’s leading award for sales and marketing.

Anglia Ruskin University’s workbased- learning programme has earned it a place in the final line-up of the British Excellence in Sales and Marketing Awards (Besma) 2016, organised by the professional body, the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management.

The Chelmsford-based Degrees at Work team, which engages with employers to help them provide new skills for their workforce, is a finalist in the Sales Team of the Year category for organisations with over 50 employees.

Degrees at Work partners with companies and organisations as diverse as the Armed Forces, GlaxoSmithKline and Harrods.

The programme draws on Anglia Ruskin’s academic expertise to design work-based bespoke qualifications for a wide range of employees.

The professional occupations covered range from football coaches to serving soldiers, from data centre leaders to ophthalmic dispensers.

Jan Skene, head of Degrees at Work, said: “Being nominated for the final of these national awards provides well-deserved recognition for what our team has achieved, particularly in setting up online courses.

“These allow employees to improve their skills without taking time off work.

“The recent recession has had significant impact on company training budgets, so the availability of an online course can make a major difference in terms of the opportunity to acquire a degree level qualification.” Last year, Anglia Ruskin beat all other British universities to the title Entrepreneurial University of the Year. Jan gave credit to the Degrees at Work team and their contribution to winning this award.

Ms Skene said; “The Degrees at Work team has played a significant part in Anglia Ruskin being named in the Times Higher Education Awards last year.

“Initiating and expanding the online degree offering is a good example of that entrepreneurial spirit at work, and the drive to provide further services continues.

“Now we are aiming for more success in 2016.”

The final round of judging will take place this week in Chesham, Buckinghamshire.

Finalists will be assessed in an expert panel interview. Results will be announced in March 2016.

For more information on Degrees at Work, visit degreesatwork