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Industry offers an olive branch

COLLEGES have been offered an olive branch by Anne Wright, chief executive of the University for Industry, amid the difficulties in readying Learndirect for its national launch.

In a letter to principals last week, Dr Wright stressed the importance of its partnership with them and gave what many will interpret as an apology: "We, like you, have been working to tight deadlines to formalise arrangements to underpin our relationship, and we appreciate that we have not always been in a position to offer you information and documentation with as much notice as you or we would like," she wrote.

"Now that the full information ad documentation are in place, we hope to concentrate on the essential purpose of Learndirect."

To further allay concerns caused by delays stemming from legal wrangling over contracts, learning centre hubs will not be charged for online materials until November 1 to "assist with cash flow during the early weeks", Dr Wright said.

However, teething problems with the Learndirect computer network remain, with log-in times varying wildly. Last month, the Association of Colleges told colleges not to sign the hub operation agreement, following legal advice. But a meeting with the UFI resolved the points of contention.

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