1.23 The provision of up-to-date, accessible and impartial information and advice will be essential if a strategy of lifelong learning for all is to be successful. This will enable many more people to access learning and increasingly take some responsibility for planning the development of their own learning throughout life. There should be a universal minimum entitlement to initial information and advice, free at the point of use and leading to more specialist services for which some charges might be made.
1.24 The national learning helpline, 'Learning Direct', should be supplemented by local partnerships and networks of information, advice and guidance involving all key local partners including careers services and other professionals engaged in providing guidance and advice. The aim should be to establish a high quality, tiered range of services running from initial 'signposting' information through to intensive and, where necessary, face-to-face detailed guidance. Providers and awarding bodies should seek to include appropriate training and qualifications in initial information and guidance for those whose jobs might, in the future, routinely be expected to include some responsibility for providing initial support to staff under their supervision seeking new learning opportunities. We have in mind supervisory and middle management positions in all industries and services, as well as those staff whose professional work in education will make them an obvious first point of contact for many would-be learners.
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