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2001 – the year in training


Audits for FE colleges, the birth of ITOL, a new IiP standard and chartered status for the then-IPD were among the headlines for the year 2000, but what will we remember the 2001 training year for? Read on for our exclusive round-up of heroes, villians, winners and losers of 2001.


We started the year by making some news of our own, with the publication of the Training Trends 2001 survey which reveals e-learning is making dramatic inroads into the staff development programmes of many companies. However, it also finds the majority of companies are hopeless at evaluating and following-up their staff learning.

Meanwhile, Lifelong Learning Minister Malcolm Wicks announces the
launch of a major consultation
into the role and future for National Training Organisations (NTOs) which will see a major overhaul of the existing 73 sector representatives later in the year to form a smaller, learner network.

USA online magazine Line Zine asked, "What's the future for 'm-learning'?", predicting growth in the use of PDAs for learning - interestingly, m-learning received little attention in the news for the rest of the year.

On 15 January, after several years of conflicting reports and claims from the scheme's supporters and detractors, The National Audit Office announced it was to launch an in-depth study into the success of New Deal, which should provide an objective view of how the scheme has fared. Findings were due in the Autumn.

Later in the month, Employment Minister Tessa Jowell announced that the number of people taking part in the scheme had reached 1 million.

Also in January...One of TrainingZONE's favourite training websites adds a new section devoted to 'reflections on e-learning'... the Institute for the Management of Information Systems (IMIS) calls upon the government to address the growing IT skills shortage in the UK...A report published by the Basic Skills Agency casts doubt on the success of current provision for basic skills training for adults.



One of the key plans emerging from the Learning and Skills Bill takes shape, as OFSTED begins work in the post-16 sector.

Another consequence of the Bill means that the National Advisory Council for Education and Training Targets closes its doors for good at the end of March - we interview Chairman Derek Wanless on the last days of NACETT.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority announce a major review of vocational qualifications aimed at rationalising the plethora of different awards currently on offer.

In this months review magazine, Mike Thompson from the Butler Group provides some useful hints for avoiding 'information overload'.

The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education is awarded to six colleges in recognition of their work to broaden the curriculum and extend learning opportunities.

Also in February... We said Happy Birthday to ITOL, Happy Computers were the Institute of IT Training's Training Company of the Year,



Almost exactly a year since it launched at the HRD show last April, World of Training, which operates an online database of training courses, bringing together providers and training buyers, is bought by trainer and author Nigel Linacre. We talk to him about his plans for the company.

A Select Committee report published this month into the New Deal scheme reveals that around 40 per cent of New Deal candidates fail to find employment lasting longer than 16 weeks.

With online learning still high on the agenda,Peter Honey asks, do learning styles work for e-learning as well as learning delivered in more traditional ways?

Although coming to the end of his tenure at the Department for Education and Employment , David Blunkett announces a drive to reduce 'unnecessary red tape' in the way in which his department works with private and voluntary sector providers.

The government launches a series of new centres giving public access to computers and the internet around the country. 1,200 UK online centres are initially launched, but get caught up with the ILA troubles later in the year.

With just 6 days to go until its launch, the Learning and Skills Council gets yet another funding handout.

Also in March... We looked at how the Budget would affect workplace learning...there's deja vu in the air as the DfEE launches a new website...Red Nose Day urges us to 'say pants to bad teamwork' .



After months of planning and speculation, on 2 April 2001: The Learning and Skills Council officially becomes reality, along with its Welsh equivalent, Education and Learning Wales.

The DfEE comes up with the optimistic news that UK spending on training has reached record levels, with £23.5 billion was spent on training in the UK last year, apparently more than in any previous year. However, Many local government authorities are struggling to find the funds for staff training, according to a survey by local government union UNISON.

TrainingZONE <a href="caught up with David Webster, Managing Director of the Industrial Society's School of Coaching to talk about the role of the school in developing managers at a time when many are facing an increasing number of challenges in the workplace.

'Who’s Driving E-Learning?, asked Rodney Thomas, CEO of Academy Internet, in an article looking at which part of an organisation should 'own' e-learning.

Meanwhile, we place e-learning firmly on the agenda with the launch of E-learningZone, a whole new area of the site dedicated to features, news and comment on e-learning.

E-universities may be on the way, but are they re-inventing the wheel? A feature in the Guardian this week looks at the parallels and potential overlap between the Open University and the government's new e-universities, echoing comments made by TrainingZONE's own members.

Also in April...Thousands of business books are instantly accessible, as Blackwells comes to TrainingZONE...TV learning comes a step closer with the announcement that technology giants IBM are to collaborate with the Pearson publishing group to deliver e-learning through the television...We asked, 400 learndirect courses now available, but are they any good?.



The Learning and Skills Council's first corporate plan, launched at the beginning of March, is put out for public consultation. It should at least be financially stable for the coming months - Baroness Blackstone announces that the outgoing Training and Enterprise Councils left a surplus of over £40 million.

There seemed to have been slightly less publicity for it this year, but it was Adult Learners Week this month. Thursday 17 May was designated Learning at Work Day. - <a href=" Among the potential 'carrots' on offer for companies to get their staff involved were free e-learning programmes from iLearn.To and Skillsoft.

As the parties slugged it out to win voter backing, we asked, what say the Party manifestos on training and development?.

Members of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (Natfhe) look to get their voices heard by organising a national strike.

New research shows that over half of financial employers in the private and public sectors are unlikely to be getting the most from their investment in training.

Also in May...We invited you to design your own TrainingZONE by coming along to the first of our successful user group meetings...Work-life balance is the 'invisible issue' In this election , says Will Hutton, Chief Executive of The Industrial Society, launching The Society’s Manifesto, Making Work Better...The National Training Organisation National Council is hoping to lead by example by announcing all its staff will be entitled to five annual learning days.



TrainingZONE writes an open letter to the Prime Minister setting out our concerns for training policy in the coming year as Labour retains the voters mandate and are re-elected to Government.

It's a final farewell to the Department for Education and Employment as it's reorganised and undergoes a ministerial reshuffle. Former schools minister Estelle Morris takes over the helm at the new Department for Education and Skills. At the time, we applauded her school experience but expected she would have a steep learning curve of her own to overcome in developing her knowledge of learning at work.

The H.O.T. Conference gets weather and interest to match as it runs from 26 - 28 June at the NEC in Birmingham. Co-hosted by TrainingZONE, the conference runs alongside the Training Solutions show and features some fascinating debate, presentations and workshops by a whole range of training names, including a koosh-ball bonanza with Oddball Training, who were demonstrating some techniques aimed at getting people to better manage their own learning. We also interview TrainingZONE interview: Paul Kearns, Personnel Works Paul Kearns, who six months later was to put the finishing touches his own TrainingZONE area, EvaluationZone.

It's now almost a year since the University for Industry launched learndirect. TrainingZONE interviewed Mary Benwell, Ufi Ltd's Director of Learning to find out how it was progressing the aims to provide information and advice to 2.5 million people a year by 2002.

Also in June... An award which would recognise the achievements of young people by the age of 19 was proposed by Education and Skills Secretary Estelle Morris as she set out her vision of education for 14-19 year olds...The newly re-elected Labour Party looks to its manifesto declarations - Chancellor Gordon Brown maintains the government is prepared to bring in a training tax credit, an idea much mooted but which has remained a question of theory so far. At the end of the year, it remained exactly that...



Education and Skills Secretary Estelle Morris announces the locations of 16 Centres of Vocational Excellence -new centres within colleges 'with a focus on meeting employers' skills needs in subjects as diverse as computing, construction, catering and childcare.' There was also £84 million in funding to help Further Education colleges develop IT infrastructure and increase the uptake of Information Learning Technology. Meanwhile, a report finds that the number of students within Further Education has declined.

We may hear much about IT skills shortages, but according to the British Computer Society, 1.2 million people in nearly 30 countries across the globe were now working towards the European Computer Driving Licence.

With the 1 million learner mark passed, Adult Skills Minister John Healey announces that the £150 contribution available to anyone registering for an Individual Learning Account (ILA) will be withdrawn from the end of July.

The publication of a review into the government's A level reforms provokes a strong response from the National Training Organisation National Council, who say that the use of work-based learning for Key Skills training has been ignored.

OFSTED's move into inspecting the college sector brings a mixed bag of results for the first round of inspections.

There were two major launches for TrainingZONE this month-the CPD Business School offered an online route to professional qualifications through action learning, while Partner Pages offered training providers the chance to showcase their services effectively to the TrainingZONE audience.

Also in July...The Department for Education and Skills gets its own website...We reviewed the International Journal of Training and Development...Ken Stewart of Berkshire Consultancy Ltd examines how to manage the 'soft side' of e-learning.



Traditionally a quiet month, August saw the publication of the final report from the Training Standards Council, which stressed that many improvements had still to be made in the provision of work-based training. The TSC was replaced by the Adult Learning Inspectorate.

With so much reorganisation taking place, A CIPD conference timed to mark the launch of their report on 'The Future of Learning for Work' is particularly critical of plans to develop learning for work schemes, despite the recent reorganisation of Learning and Skills Councils and the plethora of funding schemes supporting this area.

The Learning and Skills Council, which has maintained a low profile to date, publishes new research which states that employers run the risk of losing their staff and their businesses by failing to keep promises on training.

Plans to introduce statutory rights for learning representatives in the workplace are a direct breach of the principle of 'better regulation', according to the Engineering Employers' Federation.

Also in August...The Who's Who Directory lets you reveal all to other TrainingZONE members!...The National Training Organisation National Council and the University for Industry sign a 'memorandum of understanding'...The TrainingZONE Glossary aims to clarify some of the plethora of training jargon out there.



The Guardian reports that one in ten college principals has retired or resigned since the beginning in the year, the result of what it says is 'excessive interference and bureaucracy' imposed on colleges by government departments.

We may have made it an April fool, but being paid to train becomes a reality as Adult Skills Minister John Healey and Minister for Work Malcolm Wicks launch a series of pilots designed to identify and improve the literacy and numeracy skills of people on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). Incentives include providing financial rewards to those who complete basic skills training, and reducing JSA for people who refuse to improve their skills.

Education and Skills Secretary Estelle Morris has launches a new consultation into the way that education and training is organised for 16-19 year-olds.

An initial evaluation report into the views of users and providers regarding Individual Learning Accounts is published this month by the DfES, with no hint of what is to come.

ELVA, the e-learning vendors association holds its inaugural meeting on the 4th September in London.

Also in September...29 young people from the UK see their skills tested to the limit in South Korea, as they compete in the World Skills Competition in Seoul...The Learning and Skills Council and Regional Development Agencies announce a joint Memorandum of Understanding to enable UK businesses to recruit the trained and skilled employees required to ensure their ability to compete on a worldwide scale.



The first hint that something may be wrong with the Individual Learning Accounts scheme comes with a surprise announcement from Estelle Morris that from 7 December, the programme will cease to operate in England. In a surprise announcement, Estelle Morris, has today announced that the flagship Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) programme is to be scrapped in England, as rumours that the funding has been used fradulently increase. The announcement potentially leaves thousands of learners and training providers without funding to train.

There may have been grumbles about the amount of paperwork and expense for SMEs, but Investors in People celebrates ten years of setting the standards for workforce learning and development in the UK this month.

The CIPD show at Harrogate takes 'People mean business' as its theme, but we looked forward as ever to the Scrounger Awards!

An announcement is finally made about the future of the UK National Training Organisation network. The network is to be replaced by a new network of Sector Skills Councils in March next year.

The spotlight turns on the Learning and Skills Council this month, which remains strangely quiet on the public announcements front - CBI chief Digby Jones urges it to step up efforts to understand business needs. "If the Learning and Skills Council is serious about engaging business it needs to listen to what businesses wants and help them to achieve it", he said. The Guardian follows with a demand that the Learning and Skills Council starts proving its worth.

Also in October...Award winners are named at WOLCE...Further and Higher Education establishments will be among the public bodies required to monitor the recruitment and progress of staff by racial group under new race laws coming into effect .



Things go from bad to worse, as the Indidividual Learning Account programme is closed down in England even earlier than expected. The DfES calls in police in to investigate fraud and theft allegations, following an alert by a training provider. We look at how the system was abused,, and ask, what should replace them?

There's happier news at TrainingZONE as after weeks of hard work, the brand-new site is launched. We also unveil QualityZone, dedicated to all those interested in developing quality measures within organisations.

The United Kingdom doesn't invest enough in training, according the the Engineering Employers' Federation. As a result, the proportion of the UK's workforce with 'intermediate skills' is half that in Germany. Minister for Adult Skills John Healey warns businesses that skills shortages in key areas could become worse in future years, with companies unable to fill vacancies created by sector expansion and employee retirement.

The e-learning market growing and maturing, according to a survey from BlueU.

Also in November...The UK World Skills team finishes in 11th place, one place lower than last year. Korea dominated the competition with 35 medals...The TUClaunches a new website to complement its other lifelong learning activities...Life for e-learning after September 11th.



The ILA saga continues, with a mass lobby of MPs on Tuesday 11th Dec to protest about the way the scheme has been handled. A cross-party line-up of speakers was scheduled to review the problems of the scheme on the same afternoon, and the apparent failure of government to take responsibility for the flaws in it, or for the financial damage to community centres and training providers.

Immigration rules are to be relaxed for skilled workers in order to facilitate entry for "highly mobile people with the special talents that are required in a modern economy".

The winners of the National Training Awards Special Awards are announced. The NTA is the annual competition which celebrates employers and individuals in the UK for excellence and best practice in training.

The Adult Learning Inspectorate (formerly the Training and Skills Council) is commissioned to assess the training provision for the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labour and Vocational Training in Oman.

On a festive front, apparently poor literacy skills a problem for festive greetings, according to new research by the Department for Education and Skills. One in eight fail to make much use of Christmas cards because of their poor literacy - apparently it's nothing to do with the fact they can't think of anything to write!

That's all from TrainingZONE for 2001 - stay tuned for more daily updates and features in 2002!


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