|First there is the benefit of simply being associated with the course. Such support is likely to reflect well on the perception of the sponsoring company's commitment to, or expertise in, a particular area of study or research.
Obviously it is important that the course content should be of a high standard and also that it is aimed at a target audience or audiences which are influential and/or opinion-leading within the sponsor's line of business.
A company which sponsors, say, a course in pharmacy is likely to benefit from improvements in its existing or potential customers' understanding of its work - or more generally in its brand image.
If the sponsorship is maintained over an extended period, such perceptions may be enhanced as those who have taken the course progress in their careers and 'spread the word' to a wider public within the sector.
Course sponsorship has other potential benefits.
Where a company sponsors a course for its own employees, the academic instituton involved will usually tailor its content to ensure that the company receives direct benefits in terms of improvements in staff performance.
Where courses are 'open' (ie available to the employees of other companies), the interchange between students from different backgrounds - as well as lectureres and speakers - of ideas, experiences and knowledge can be very valuable.