The group, which consists of members from both organisations, was formed following a seminar held for AoC and UfI representatives by Michael Wills, Secretary of State for Learning and Technology. Its aims will be to focus on the needs of individual learners, and it will meet to discuss issues such as learner funding, audit and data collection, learning materials and staff training.
Judith Norrington, Director of curriculum and quality at the AoC said that the Association was pleased to have become involved at this stage: "We are delighted to have had the continuing opportunity to comment on development issues and we look to the working group to make a major contribution to the planning process in the run-up to UfI becoming operational nationally."
The collaboration is part of the government's attempt to involve as many interested parties as possible in the development of the UfI: "The success of learndirect depends crucially upon securing effective partnerships," said Anne Wright, UfI chief executive. "UfI regards the AoC and the further education sector as key partners in our endeavours."
The Association of Colleges represents Further Education colleges, sixth form colleges and specialist colleges in the UK, and has around 460 members. The 3.5 million adult learners in the further education sector are one of UfI's key target groups in the drive to increase the number of people involved in activities related to learning. Ufi has set aside £10 million over a two-year period for promotional activities aimed at stimulating what it terms 'demand for lifelong learning'.