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OU: Students need improved progression routes for skills agenda to be met

Students will need to see their routes through education and training made as effective as possible if work to improve UK skills levels is to be successful, according to The Open University.

In welcoming the publication of the report of the Leitch Review of Skills, Professor David Vincent - the University's Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Strategy, Planning and External Affairs) - suggests that more needs to be done to ensure the efficiency and value of progression routes for students. Such work in a credit and qualifications framework in England is a vital step in helping to meet the social and economic demands of the future, he said, noting also that the University operates in different jurisdictions in the UK, each with varying skills issues and needs.

He added: "The most effective of these progression 'escalators' will enable people to develop their skills and to make the vital contribution to society in order to halt the potential undermining of the UK's long-term prosperity that Leitch refers to. Such escalators of opportunity have a valuable role to play in leading to an improvement in skills and a successful economy."

Much of the most effective work on improving skills levels is likely to happen in the workplace, added Professor Vincent. "The workplace of the 21st century is set to become increasingly important in the delivery of the courses and material for skills development. Within that, distance education and the use of appropriate e-learning techniques have paramount roles to play.

"Effective continuing professional development programmes together with free-to-use open content material remain potential tools for delivering the skills improvements that Leitch refers to. The Open University has a rapidly growing Centre for Continuing Professional Development, well-established links with the corporate sector and its OpenLearn open content resource," he added.

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