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The key reforms

Neil Munro reports on the reactions to last week's announcements on lifelong learning

* SCOTTISH GUIDANCE GROUP

This will be established at national level from April 1 to provide quality assurance, monitoring and support for the local guidance networks. It will be established with a membership of around a dozen drawn from the guidance community and a small staff. The group will be attached to a suitable, as yet unidentified, educational or guidance institution.

The group will enjoy Government funding for three years and thereafter be managed and funded by the local networks - a signal, the Scottish Office says, that the local groups are intended to be the key players with the national body playing a servicing role.

* LOCAL GUIDANCE NETWORKS

Based on the areas of the 17 careers companies, which would receive funding to produce proposals for improved marketing and access to guidance. The lion's share of the Pounds 6 million would go to the guidance networks The intention, according to a senior Scottish Office figure, is to "pull together the guidance offered by the careers service, FE colleges, education authorities, community education, local enterprise companies and local adult guidance services. We should then be in a position to market it, linking the advice to the helpline in a way which hopefully will make sense to the man in Sauchiehall Street. "

* LOCAL LEARNING PARTNERSHIPS

Will link with the guidance networks to stimulate the drive towards national education and training targets, to reach the estimated 80 per cent of Scots who have no further involvement in learning after formal education. The partnerships are likely to be based on the 22 local enterprise company areas. Scottish Office funding could be made available to the existing education-business partnerships, although their remit would have to be broadened beyond schools. Other local groups will also be eligible.

Partnerships will be expected to focus on encouraging the involvement of small businesses in learning and support work with disadvantaged and unqualified young people.

* HELPLINE AND DATABASE

Both planned to be operational from August 1. The Scottish Guidance Group will ensure close links with the local networks.

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