The advent of the University for Industry in 2000 will offer colleges the opportunity to help to provide new forms of education and training. The university is a public-private partnership to boost the competitiveness of business and enable individuals to improve their employability.
It will seek to stimulate the demand for lifelong learning and promote the availability of, and improve access to, relevant, high quality learning, especially using information and communication technologies.
Those without access to the new technologies will be offered access to a network of franchised local learning centres. The university will also broker high-quality learning products and services - produced by other organisations - to make them available at home and in the workplace.
The university will promote learning ranging from literacy and numeracy to technological skills and business management. In its early years it will cater especially for small and medium-sized businesses, and sectors such as automotive components, multimedia, environmental technology and the distributive and retail trades.
Colleges clearly have the opportunity to become franchised local learning centres, to produce learning materials for the university and equally importantly the chance to offer individual learner support using new and traditional technologies.