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Libraries to build stronger links with University for Industry


Libraries are set to play a bigger role in the development of the government's University for Industry initiative aimed at promoting and encouraging lifelong learning, according to an announcement this week.

The work of the University for Industry (UfI) has so far concentrated on e-learning, with the creation of learndirect, a network of centres offering online learning. learndirect also provides a hotline offering details of electronic and classroom-based training to the general public. Some libraries are already housing learndirect e-learning centres, but the new plans mean that libraries will form a cluster group to strengthen links between with the UfI by looking at raising the profile of libraries in encouraging lifelong learning and making libraries themselves aware of what UfI can offer their visitors.

"Libraries in all sectors have become learndirect centres so it is vital that a two-way channel of communication is established." said Kathy Ennis, Professional Adviser Academic and Research Libraries at The Library Association. "The first activity for the Cluster Management Group will be a mapping exercise of library-based learndirect provision, this will enable us to identify examples of good practice and identify trends that will inform our future agenda."

Ufi stated aims are to drive up demand for formal learning by engaging new and excluded learners and to use ICT to make learning more accessible. It plans by 2002/03 to be stimulating and handling 2.5 million enquiries a year about careers and learning opportunities and to see a million people a year learning with learndirect.


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