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Helpline hits the button;FE Focus

Two thousand callers responded immediately to a BBC Television mention of the Government's Learning Direct helpline, launched as part of the lifelong learning proposals published in a Green Paper.

More than 3,000 calls were answered in the first few days. There were equal numbers of men and women, with the greatest response coming from people aged 26-45. One in five was unemployed, and four out of 10 were from the South-East.

The free helpline is for adults, with or without qualifications, in or out of work, employers who want advice on training, and institutions seeking careers advice for their clients.

The biggest proportion (30 per cent), wanted information about further or higher education, 20 per cent asked about training, 10 per cent sought careers information, and 10 per cent wanted details of IT training.

A Broadcasting Support Services spokeswoman said: "Callers appear to like the fact that the helpline is impartial, easy to access and offers them a range of choices. "

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