Clive Booth, appointed today as chairman of ECCTIS 2000, said the international qualifications market was taking off as Britain stresses the importance of European employability during its Presidency of the European Commission.
ECCTIS 2000 is a private company, which manages the UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre on behalf of the Department for Education and Employment. It manages the Crown-owned database of courses in further and higher education.
Since last April more than 12,000 inquiries have been made by people seeking advice on comparability of qualifications, further study, professional registration or employment.
Professor Booth, who is also chairman of the Teacher Training Agency and an EC adviser, said: "The Government has rightly identified enhancing opportunities for labour mobility as a key aspect of its presidency. This requires mutual recognition of qualifications between member states, and multimedia advances are making this attainable by giving our students access to information more easily, particularly through the Web.
"The UK is well-placed to take a lead in this development and I am very encouraged that a growing number of British companies are using NARIC for advice on recruiting international students both in the UK and when setting up operations in other countries."
First moves towards expansion have been made. These include the first phase of a consumer survey on lifetime learning and careers. The first survey addressed the needs of second-year undergraduates, covering a retrospective view of their previous decision-making and surveying future needs and aspirations. The Times Supplements are one the partners in the ECCTIS 2000 consortium.