Feeds

LearnDirect 'could do better'

MPs concerned with gov e-learning programme

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

The company established by the government to deliver e-learning is making some progress, but is still failing to reach groups with the lowest skills levels, according to MPs.

A report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee found the Learndirect service, operated by Ufi, has in seven years provided courses to 1.7m people, two-thirds of whom had not done any learning in the previous three years.

It also said that relatively few of the participants on the programme are taking up the level two courses aimed at tackling the lowest levels of literacy and numeracy skills.

The report noted that while 37 per cent of small businesses realise that Learndirect is intended to support them and their employees and only one-in-twenty-five are using it.

Committee chairman Edward Leigh said: "The economic competitiveness of the UK is being damaged by relatively low levels of skills, literacy and numeracy among adults. A large proportion (about 40 per cent) of employers do not provide their staff with any training at all.

"These employers could take advantage of the extensive e-learning network established by Ufi. It is essential that this service is promoted more widely among employers and that it offers more business-oriented training."

The report recommended that Ufi should develop a strategy over the next two years to work more closely with employers.

This should include a campaign to highlight how Learndirect services could raise the productivity of businesses, MPs said.

The report also found that access to Learndirect was often limited in rural areas, but said that provision could be enhanced by providing services through online tutoring and within existing local amenities such as schools and community centres.

MPs were also concerned that Learndirect was still putting a heavy strain on public funding. Ultimately, Ufi should be self-funded, but by July last year it had recovered only £12m of commercial income compared with the £930m it has received in public funding.

One of the reasons for this, MPs said, was because up until last year, Ufi was spending one third of its budget on management and marketing costs. "Ufi should accelerate moves to cut these costs and channel the money towards learners," Leigh said.

Responding to the report, Ufi said it had introduced annual revenue of 44 per cent from the private sector between now and 2011.

Report: Extending access to learning through technology: Ufi and the Learndirect service (PDF: 413KB)

Copyright © eGov monitor Weekly

eGov monitor Weekly is a free e-newsletter covering developments in UK eGovernment and public sector IT over the last seven days. To register go here.

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.