Education and Employment Minister Baroness Blackstone today announced that total funding of £84 million would be provided in 2000-01 to support the continued development of the University for Industry (Ufi).
The announcement coincides with notification that the Ufi has entered into a major new phase in its development towards full national operation in the autumn by announcing a further 178 on-line learndirect development centres, bringing the total number to 251.
The funding will pay for the development of the Ufi infrastructure and Ufi’s learning and information services, enabling it to meet its targets of 2.5 million people a year using its learning information services by 2002, and one million people a year using its learning services by 2003. £10 million of the £84 million is to expand the learndirect advice line, which has received over 1.25 million calls since it was set up in early 1998.
As we reported last week, the learndirect site has been revamped and now includes a careers advice area, learndirect features.
Examples of the courses on offer range from ‘The learndirect Numbers Disc’, a multimedia resource for people wanting to improve their number skills; ‘Care for your Customers’ - a course in customer care for businesses; and ‘Internet Skills Expert’, a web-publishing course.
The current suppliers of learning materials are the BBC; Cambridge Training and Development Ltd; Dean Associates; Institute of IT Training; knowledge=power; Maxim Training; National Extension College; Netg; and Xebec Mcgraw Hill.
Baroness Blackstone said that "Ufi plans to address the key barriers to greater take-up of training in small and medium-sized enterprises. Ufi plans to provide a 'just in time’ skills service which aims to minimise the cost normally associated with releasing staff for more traditional courses by providing tailored courses for employees".