Lifelong Learning Networks were established with the intention of improving progression for vocational learners. Built upon partnerships between FE and HE organisations, the networks have, since their inception in 2005, added a number of areas to their remit. In total 30 networks received support through the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE).
The main Lifelong Learning Network achievements have been:
- the development of progression ‘agreements’ or ‘accords’ which allow learners to move into and through HE
- the enhancement of systems of information, advice and guidance for learners and intermediaries, including staff development training, events, and resources
- work with local and national stakeholders to ensure that curriculum is demand-led and fit for purpose. Networks address the Higher Level Skills needs within specific sectors and support partners to engage with employers.
Much of this practice has now been embedded directly into colleges and universities.
Some networks are continuing past the initial HEFCE-funded phase in different guises. They will continue to nurture the interface between FE and HE providers so that learners can benefit from seamless transition into higher learning. The National Forum was set up to support practitioners working in these unique partnerships and will continue into 2012. For more information see the Lifelong Learning Networks website.