HC Deb 12 April 2000 vol 348 c184W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on progress in the establishment of the University for Industry. [118373]

Mr. Wills

Excellent progress is being made. UfI Ltd. are on track to launch their products and services nationally in the autumn. A major publicity campaign began on 19 March to heighten public awareness of UfI Ltd.'s learndirect brand and to stimulate demand for learning among adults. This is underpinned by the learndirect information and advice telephone helpline which has helped over one million callers.

Seventy-seven learndirect Development Centres across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are now working with UfI Ltd. to test out aspects of their services and systems as well as developing new approaches to the delivery of flexible learning. The centres are currently piloting 24 on-line products.

UfI Ltd. are maintaining a rolling process of updating and extending the range of products to be included in their portfolio for the autumn. Their initial priorities are basic skills, ICT skills at all levels and business skills for SMEs. Over 60 per cent. of the learning portfolio will be available on-line initially and people will be able to access learndirect products and services at home, in the workplace or at learning centres nation-wide. The learndirect information and advice service will also be available on-line from May.