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Ufi announces changes to learndirect network structure
Ufi, the organisation responsible for learndirect, has announced changes to the structure of its national e-learning network.
From 29 July 2006, Ufi will contract directly with learndirect providers, taking sole responsibility for audit, training and guidance, systems, quality assurance and business development.
These functions have been carried out jointly by Ufi and the hub operators sub-contracted to Ufi since the learndirect network was established in 1999. Ufi says that expertise built up in the delivery of e-learning will be retained by recruiting both Ufi and hub operator staff for roles in the new structure.
According to Ufi, building on a 24 per cent reduction in central costs achieved over the last two years, these changes will enable Ufi to save a further 20 per cent (£10 million) annually. The organisation says this saving will protect subsidy for 25,000 learners each year from the priority groups of those qualified below level 2 and those with literacy and numeracy needs.
Tendering for learning provider contracts for the two-year period 1 August 2006 to 31 July 2008 begins next month. Ufi says that contracts will be awarded based on providers' ability to support it in meeting the government's PSA targets for improving adult literacy and numeracy and reducing the number of adults without a qualification at level 2.
Ufi believes that local consultation and tendering for providers will enable it to re-plan the network so that learndirect provision is accessible to priority groups of learners, including people with literacy and numeracy (basic skills) needs, those qualified below level 2, and those living in rural areas.
Friday's announcement follows a 12-month review of the learndirect network that was launched with the aim of improving quality for learners, simplifying administration for the learning providers who deliver learndirect and re-focusing the scale and reach of learndirect centres.
Ufi chief executive Sarah Jones said: "learndirect is the largest single provider funded by the LSC in England. More than 1,000 people each day register for a course - many of them people who, without learndirect, would not have returned to formal learning.
"The changes we will be putting in place from July this year will enable us to maximise the impact of the funding we receive for learndirect, strengthen our relationships with learning providers, and continue to build on the high levels of satisfaction which learners report with learndirect e-learning."
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