The University for Industry
Chapter 1 Section 3
1.6 The capacity to cope with change will be the hallmark of success in the twenty-first century. In the global marketplace the UK cannot compete on the basis of low wages and low added value. Rather, we will need to provide better quality goods and services, high added value and productivity, and be able to use technology to the full. This will require investment in the skills and abilities of management and workforce alike; and also the creation of new enthusiasm for learning. It is to help do this that we are establishing an entirely new type of institution - the University for Industry - which will put the UK ahead of the rest of world in using new technology to improve learning and skills.
1.7 The UfI will connect those who want to learn with ways of doing so. It will act as the hub of a brand new learning network, using modern communication technologies to link businesses and individuals to cost-effective, accessible and flexible education and training.
1.8 People and companies will be able to contact the University for Industry by telephone, letter, fax, email (through the UfI's website) or by calling at a UfI enquiry desk in, for example, a supermarket, high street shop, college, TEC or Business Link. The UfI will tell you what learning is available and offer advice if you need it, and provide you with a course that meets your needs, whether full-time, part-time, or through study at home, at work or at a local learning centre. For example, it could deliver a learning package on a CD-ROM to your home or send it by email, or contract with a college for an evening class, or broadcast an interactive TV programme, or provide a course over the radio or on the Internet. Students will not need to be tied to one particular location.
1.9 With 99 per cent of households having a television set, broadcasting has enormous potential to open up access to learning through the UfI; for example, the BBC's Computers Don't Bite campaign to encourage people to use computers reached seven million people, with 150,000 people calling the helpline for guidance. The Discovery Channel, and the History and National Geographic Channels illustrate the demand and potential for specialist channels and programming which informs. By harnessing broadcasting to enable people to learn at home, the UfI will help to overcome people's fears about learning.
1.10 The UfI learner will also be able to study through learning centres. These will be places equipped with technology where people can go and access UfI courses and materials. The centres should be within easy reach of most people's homes. They could be in their firm, in a library, shopping centre, or football club, or at a school or further education college (we are investing £5 million to develop learning centres in colleges in 1998-99). The UfI will ensure that learning centres meet the high standard required for providing access to UfI programmes. Like any other learning institution, the UfI will look after its learners, offering advice and support to businesses and individuals. Everyone who takes a course through the UfI will become a UfI 'student'.
1.11 Stimulating mass demand will be a major task for the UfI. There will be an extensive advertising and marketing campaign to attract individual and business customers to this initiative. During its early years, the UfI will focus on priority target areas identified by industry, learning providers and the Government. These are likely to cover:
1.12 The UfI will also explore with learners and suppliers gaps in provision and then commission courses to fill them. These courses will be supplied to the UfI by further education colleges, private learning providers, universities and colleges of higher education, education publishers, broadcasters and others.
1.14 The UfI will make a unique contribution to the learning revolution. Just as the Open University helped transform attitudes to higher education in the 1970s, so the University for Industry will help change attitudes to learning and acquiring skills in the new century. The UfI will directly address the obstacles identified earlier. It will:
1.15 A UfI Transition Team will shortly be established, made up of experts in skills, marketing and finance, and more details will be published in the spring in the UfI Pathfinder Prospectus. This will set out how people interested in supporting the UfIís establishment can get involved.
Q. How can we raise awareness of what the UfI has to offer individual learners and businesses?
Q. Which people and businesses should the UfI target in particular?
Q. How can we best link the UfI with individual learning accounts?
Q. Should the UfI focus exclusively on using new technology to deliver learning?
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