New Learners, New Learning

A strategic evaluation of Ufi

Tamkin P, Hillage J, Dewson S, Sinclair A | Research Report RR440 | Department for Education and Skills | May 2003

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University for Industry (Ufi) was launched in autumn 2000 as the government's flagship for lifelong learning, intending to make a reality from the vision of a 'university for industry'.

Ufi delivers under the brand name learndirect and has two main products: there is an independent national learning information and advice service, and an e-learning network delivering courses through branded learning centres, in the workplace or at home.

In 2002, the DfES commissioned IES to undertake an evaluation of Ufi's performance against its strategic objectives of improving individuals' employability and organisations' productivity and competitiveness.

The five main messages to emerge from the study are that:

  • learndirect has so far had more of an impact on individuals than on organisations
  • learndirect contributes to lifelong learning by engaging new learners, and by widening participation by reaching out to traditionally disadvantaged groups
  • learndirect leads to further learning progression
  • learndirect is helping some learners enhance their employability
  • learndirect is contributing to the expansion and diversification of the learning market.