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LIS-PUB-LIBS  October 1999

LIS-PUB-LIBS October 1999

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Subject:

UFI REACHES OUT TO NEW LEARNERS THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS

From:

Frances Hendrix <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Frances Hendrix <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 15 Oct 1999 12:44:54 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (137 lines)

**Apologies for cross-posting**

UFI REACHES OUT TO NEW LEARNERS THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS

An invited audience of around 70 people working in government, 
education, libraries and the ICT industry attended a LASER briefing on 
the University for Industry given by Dr Brian Sutton, Director of ICT, 
UfI Ltd, and David Kay, Strategic Director of Fretwell-Downing 
Informatics Ltd, at the  Library Association HQ in London on 30th 
September 1999.  The audience included many senior information 
professionals keen to find out what progress has been made since the 
proposed new University for Industry lifelong learning initiative was 
turned into UfI Ltd in April 1999.  They heard Dr Sutton explain that 
the 140 strong company aims to enhance employability and 
competitiveness; promote demand for lifelong learning; broker learning 
opportunities; reach both individual learners and small businesses; and 
foster use of information and communications technologies (ICT).

Dr Sutton explained how Ufi will drive up demand for learning through 
large-scale national advertising and promotional campaigns, the 
Learning Direct call centre and partnerships with existing providers. 
 The UfI is working with educational publishers and providers to supply 
high-quality learning materials which will be delivered and supported 
through an national network of learning centres.  The Ufi is planning 
for 1000 centres by autumn 2000.  Wherever possible Ufi will rely on 
endorsing or enhancing existing learning materials and products, but it 
will also commission new materials where it finds gaps in what is 
available.

Ufi learning centres will typically be in easy-access, non-traditional 
locations.  They will be run by 'Ufi hubs' - consortia made up of local 
learning organisations and providers. Libraries have featured very 
strongly in almost all the 120 geographically-based Consortia that have 
so far bid to be hubs and run centres. Ufi has also received bids from 
70 organisations and consortia representing business sectors and 11 
from large companies. In total, well over 2000 potential partners are 
involved in bids to the Ufi to run local learning centres. These 
include almost all further education colleges and 60 higher education 
institutions.

Ufi learning centres will range from large 'flagship' centres, through 
smaller centres to access points that could be a single PC in a 
community hall with local support.

Around 70 development centres will be up and running from November this 
year to test and pilot services.  The hubs themselves will set the 
local agenda, promoting centres and facilities according to the needs 
of the local market and the local strategy for Lifelong Learning.

Learning materials and opportunities will cover both generic and basic 
skills and the needs of the vertical business sectors which are Ufi 
priorities - Retail and Distribution, Environmental Services, SMEs, 
Multimedia and the Automotive industry. Ufi has already announced a   
working list of 100 initial titles which will offer in total around 
1000 'bit-sized' chunks of learning.

David Kay outlined the technical infrastructure that is being provided 
by Fretwell-Downing following their successful tender for the work as 
part of a Logica lead consortium. Much of the infrastructure being 
specified by Ufi benefits from collaborative research and development 
 projects undertaken with library partners throughout Europe.  Ufi will 
be fully operational by autumn 2000.

A full report will be made available electronically on LASER's website 
at http://www.viscount.org.uk/laser/ and published in LASERLink, 
LASER's news and staff development journal.

Notes for Editors
1. LASER is the preferred name for London and South Eastern Library 
Region, the Development and networking agency. Building on a history of 
regional and inter-regional resource sharing activity since 1926, LASER 
is now developing new approaches to cultural services development and 
promoting access to learning resources, based on a wide range of 
partnerships. Frances Hendrix, Director of LASER is a member of the 
Board of UfI Ltd.

2. Further information may be obtained from Robin Yeates, Assistant 
Director, Research and Development, LASER by email to 
 [log in to unmask] or telephone +44(020) 7702 2020.

Ufi editor's notes
Ufi is taking forward the Government's concept of the University for 
Industry.  It aims to provide information and advice to 2.5 million 
people a year by 2002, and create demand for up to one million courses 
and learning packages a year by 2004 - to be met by the Ufi network and 
existing learning providers. An independent body, Ufi will operate in 
England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and establish strong working 
relationships with the Ufi in Scotland. By stimulating lifelong 
learning, Ufi aims to put people in a better position to get jobs, 
improve their career prospects and boost business competitiveness.

Ufi has been set up as a limited company, Ufi Ltd, which has applied 
for charitable status.  The Chairman, Lord Dearing; Vice Chairman, Sir 
Anthony Greener, and board directors, have been appointed by the 
Secretary of State for Education.  The Chief Executive, Dr Anne Wright 
and executive directors are responsible for the operations of the Ufi, 
developing its plans and implementing them.  Ufi will be independent of 
government, although the Government will be Ufi's major stakeholder. 
 The DfEE is committed to support Ufi during its development phases, 
and the first year will see funds of ?44 million from the DfEE.

Ufi will be in full national operation by Autumn 2000.  In the meantime 
many of its services will be introduced gradually. In April 1999 Ufi 
took over responsibility for the Government's Learning Direct helpline. 
 This national learning information helpline was launched on 25 
February 1998 and has been a resounding success.  The freephone number 
is 0800 100 900.

Ufi will develop a network of up to 1000 Learning Centres which will be 
operated by local learning providers.  The first pilots will be in 
operation at the end of this year.

Ufi will cater for a very wide range of learners, from basic skills to 
post-graduate level and from general management for SMEs to specific 
technical skills and knowledge for designated priority areas.

Ufi's development plan is available on the Internet at 
http://www.ufiltd.co.uk/ufi. Printed copies can be ordered from: Ufi, 
PO box 380, Nottingham, NG7 3JS; telephone 0141 300 4924.

--------------------------------------------------------------------  
-----------------------------
Frances Hendrix
DIRECTOR
LASER
Fourth Floor
Gun Court
70 Wapping Lane
London E1 9RL
Tel: 0207 702 2020
Fax: 0207 702 2019
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
URL: http://www.viscount.org.uk/laser/


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