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Change of name for Workplace Basic Skills Network

Skills for Life Network

The Workplace Basic Skills Network is changing its name to reflect the new approach to workplace learning

‘One of the country’s leading language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) organisations will be changing its name to reflect the new approach to workplace learning. The Workplace Basic Skills Network – based at Lancaster University – will now be known as ‘The Network’.

The change of title follows the earlier decision by the Department for Education and Skills to dispense with the Adult Basic Skills Strategy Unit and to replace it with the Skills for Life Strategy Unit.

In its 12 years of operation ‘The Network’ has established itself within the field as a national leader in the dissemination of good practice, professional development and practitioner support. Following the decision to go under a different name, The Network will continue to focus on workplace language, literacy and numeracy and provide its partners with the same top-of-the-range service.

"Many organisations are now concentrating on the acquisition of language, literacy and numeracy skills in the workplace," said Eddie Little, The Network’s operations manager. "The term basic skills has a number of negative perceptions that we want to play our part in dispelling."

The name switch also reflects The Network’s own expanding area of operation. In the past three years its portfolio has grown to meet the needs of its stakeholders, so that it now offers a wider range of services. These include customised solutions for regional development and a greater choice of professional development opportunities. It also regularly makes vital contributions to national policy forums. In addition, The Network is a national membership organisation, which presents an annual conference and holds numerous regional events.

"LLN is a highly complex area that includes many different partners," said Eddie Little. "The Network prides itself on its holistic approach, so that the needs of all these varying interests are met as far as is possible. But it is vital that the Workplace Skills for Life focus is retained, and that it is not either subsumed by functional skills or downgraded in the sector skills agreements. The Network will continue to argue this case within the various policy-making forums that it attends."

The name change takes effect from October 1st 2005.’

The Network, based at Lancaster University, is a national self-funding, not for profit organisation. Founded in 1993, it supports Skills for Life, the government’s adult literacy and numeracy strategy. The Network builds professional capacity in workplace basic skills through sharing and dissemination of good practice and continuing professional development and supporting basic skills professionals to meet the language, literacy and numeracy needs and priorities of today’s changing workplace. It continues to support the Skills for Life scheme.

Address: The Network, CSET, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YL; tel: 01524 593405; website: www.lancaster.ac.uk/wbsnet (This will change to www.thenetwork.co.uk as from the 1st October).

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