Shadow Chancellor Gordon Brown this week said the University for Industry would be a distance learning resource for all at home, in the workplace, libraries and adult education centres, writes Ian Nash. But its first priority was to promote management skills in small businesses.
The policy document, New Labour - a Government for Entrepreneurs, puts the UFI centre stage in the programme for economic development if Labour is elected next week: "Labour will establish a new University for Industry through a publicprivate partnership. This will offer training using interactive technologies, such as the Internet and CD-Rom. The UFI will cut the costs of training, both by using new technology and by achieving economies of scale. This initiative will make training affordable for small employers, who at present, often for reasons of expense, do little or no training.
"The UFI's early priorities will be in areas of direct benefit to small firms. In particular, there will be a focus on learning packages which teach management skills for people starting a small business. This includes accounting, personnel management and administration.
"The UFI will be self-financing, paid for through individual and business subscriptions and also by money paid by individuals from Labour's new Individual Learning Accounts."