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A brace of training association mergers announced


TrainingZONE has received notice of two mergers in the training world in the last week.

The British Association for Open Learning (BAOL), which represents open learning providers and practitioners and The Forum for Technology in Training (FTT), which promotes the effective use of technology in training and development, are to merge as a brand-new organisation, details of which will be announced in November.

Irene Cooke, Chair of BAOL said; "The amalgamation of BAOL and FTT offers a great opportunity to bring together two of the leading learning and technology organisations in the UK. The new venture will provide members with a wealth of experience and expertise in learning and learning innovation". Karen Velasco, Chairman of FTT added "We will offer members wide ranging solutions to meet training and development needs for the future. Using innovative learning techniques and technologies will enable them to further improve best practice and excellence in learning".

A separate announcement states that the Institute of IT Training (IITT), a professional body for IT training professionals, has been acquired by the National Computing Centre, a membership and research organisation for IT users. As a result, the IITT becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of NCC but will continue to operate from its base in Coventry, under the leadership of Colin Steed, Chief Executive, and his team.

Michael Gough, NCC's Chief Executive said, "I am delighted to welcome IITT into the NCC group. It represents a significant opportunity to combine both organisations' interests and capabilities in professionalising the IT Industry. NCC and IITT will now work together to address the shortfall in IT skills in the UK, supporting Her Majesty's Government's ambition to make the UK the world's leading knowledge economy."

Colin Steed, Chief Executive of the IITT, said; "Joining up with the NCC is an excellent development for us and I am pleased to be working with such an established body who are synonymous with IT best practice, standards and quality. By working together we shall be able to offer our respective individual and corporate memberships enhanced services and benefits. With NCC's excellent connections within the highest levels of Government, industry and academia, we can now push forward with our goals of national training standards, accreditation, and individual and organisational quality monitoring and assessment."

Nick Mitchell, the IITT’s founder and Chairman from its launch in 1995, , is stepping down to concentrate on developing The Training Foundation, which remains the IITT’s appointed training provider for membership CPD programmes.

TrainingZONE says: It's been a busy summer for training mergers all told - in July, e-learning providers fuel announced they had acquired fellow providers Wide Learning, and in the same month e-learning technology provider Futuremedia Plc announced it was taking over customised e-learning provider IQdos in a $450,000 share deal. The reasoning behind the two association mergers seems unclear, other than perhaps to increase financial stability, although the first arrangement arguably gives BAOL more scope to develop their reach into the e-learning arena.


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