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A virtual success
A virtual successKeywords: On-line computing, Distance learning, Education, Colleges
A total of 16 FE and Sixth Form Colleges in East and West Sussex, together with Sussex Enterprise – the largest organisation representing businesses in the county – are spearheading the Sussex Virtual College initiative.
The initiative is supported by BT Education + FVC.Com, the Sussex Virtual College – the first of its kind in the UK and one of only four other such projects worldwide – promises to revolutionise the way in which vocational training is delivered to millions of employees across the UK, by linking them to local colleges for interactive lectures.
Ken Caldwell, Chief Executive of Sussex Enterprise commented:
Ours is a great example of a successful partnership between education and business, something we need to become better at in the UK to provide flexible access to training facilities and expert tuition that would otherwise be beyond the reach of many. I believe that this initiative will permanently alter the way Sussex companies nurture new skills and boost their competitiveness. The local economy and, ultimately, the UK economy as a whole will benefit.
Mike Sturt, of printers Claremont Press, explains their eagerness to sign up for courses:
The concept is exciting, as it means that training can be brought to us in our own workplace. There are areas where we have really struggled to find good one-to-one training in the past, particularly in the design area where software technology moves so fast.
John Curtis, lecturer at Lewes Tertiary College, says:
We're a small college offering a wide range of subjects – from tourism and leisure, to information technology and science. As long as businesses have an ISDN link and the Internet they will be able to access our packages directly from the virtual college.
The final word goes to Jim Moore, General Manager, BT Education, who said:
This ambitious project has the capacity to bring flexible learning into homes and offices nationally, even globally. It's a fine example of how ICT can make learning more flexible, accessible and suited to today's world.
Our role as adviser and network provider was complemented by the skills of a number of other IT specialists, including video broadcasters FVC.COM. Together, we have created a solution that makes it possible for previously uneconomic niche courses to be provided from geographically dispersed video classrooms around the county. I now look forward to this facility revealing its full potential.