Educationally mobile pioneer

A mobile technology unit hailed by Gillian Shephard as the very best in further education could become the first of a national network of units bringing high-tech training to businesses.

The mobile technology centre at Soundwell College, Bristol, hit the road this week, bringing computer technology worth Pounds 25,000 to schools and businesses in the area.

The scheme, funded by Pounds 400,000 from the Government's FE competitiveness fund, was developed after the success of the college's technology bus, which tours local schools. Soundwell is one partner in the Technology Training consortium, with Coventry Technical College, Westminster College and Salford local education authority, which hopes to set up a network of mobile units across the country.

Soundwell principal David Ekinsmyth said; "We have been pushing this mobile technology training concept and the competitiveness fund gave us the opportunity to develop it.

"It gives us the basis for going into schools and firms outside college. "

Launching the project, Mrs Shephard said: "This is an example of what the very best of FE can achieve. It's the way they put the bid together which is so remarkable, involving partnership with the private sector and input from local industry.

"We have seen 11-year-olds and secondary pupils who might just be on the verge of becoming demotivated, but they are absolutely focused on what they are doing."

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