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Partnership vital to global survival

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Partnership vital to global survivalOn 18 Jul 2000 in Personnel Today If you are nor already on the partnership boat, there is a good chance you have missed it. Allied Distillers HR director Andy Newhall told delegates.Newhall warned partnership was essential if organisations are to compete in a global economy.He said Allied Distillers’ plants in Spain and Mexico are now as efficient as those in the UK. “Four years ago two plants in Spain were being consolidated and jobs were being lost. This year they were talking about partnership.”Allied Distillers has eight major production units worldwide. “They all use machinery made in Germany, they all talk about knowledge management. “Partnership is not a choice, it is something you have to do if you are going to survive.”Ross Dunn, managing director of Incahoots, said quality of staff will soon be the only important difference between organisations. “The ideas behind partnership are not going to be optional, they will be absolutely mandatory if you want to survive.”last_img read more

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Career File: Fiona Triller

Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Career File: Fiona TrillerOn 1 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Thepage where readers expose their careers Thismonth, Fiona Triller, 39, staff development manager at Leeds MetropolitanUniversity, reveals the philosophy that has helped her to gain a high profilein IIP for her organisationHowlong have you been in this job?  In this post, six years.     Howlong have you been with your organisation? Nearly nine years.     Whatdoes your role involve?Planning, developing, delivering training and development for all staff inLMU, which total 2,500. I also participate in various strategic highereducation forums, explore accreditation opportunities and prepare for audit.What’sthe best thing about your job? There are two – the element of self-management and that I can initiate alot of training and development activity. The worst is when I think somethingis a good idea but it has to be developed into a paper to go to committees andeventually goes nowhere.Whatis your current major project or strategic push?We have just successfully completed our IIP re-assessment – we remain thelargest University in England and Wales to have whole university recognition. Iam also looking at several audits and developing management competencies.Preferredterminology: training, development, education, learning? All except “performance improvement”. Mostloathed buzzwords? Most of them, but especially “green field sites” and any references tosport. Areyou good at self-development? Pass! Seriously though, I do have a five-year plan for myself. And recentlyI attended a conference for staff in HE with similar roles to myself.Wheredo you want to be in five years’ time?I want to be in a role that I don’t think exists yet – a mix of diversity,community work, lifelong learning… I’m writing the job description, but I justneed to find an organisation that wants it and me.     Whatwas the most useful course you ever went on or learning experience you everhad? A pilot teamworking programme which went beyond the usual roleidentification and ideal team stuff to look at what happens if the team or partof the team fails. Excellent!Whatdid you want to do for a living when you were at school?I wanted to be a journalist.Whatwas your first job?  Graduate trainee with Bass hotel division.Whichof your qualifications do you most value and why?     My first degree from Edinburgh – I really didn’t want to go to universitybecause I wanted to work on the local paper, but a degree really does opendoors. It’s one reason why we are promoting our Return to Learn programme withfacilities management staff.Whatwas the best career decision you ever made? An accidental one, really. I was made redundant and then got involved in aEuropean-funded project on women returners.Whatwas the worst career decision you ever made?   All have been good in different ways.   Evaluation– holy grail or impossible dream? Universities do lots of evaluation (as do many organisations). Evaluationis as much about what you do with the information as the information itself. Howdo you think your job will have changed in five years’ time? Less emphasis on programmes and more CPD.Whatdo you think the core skills for your job will be in the future? Influencing, negotiating, writing bids for external funding…Whatadvice would you give to someone starting out in training and development? Whatever company you join, do a stint on the shopfloor, or its equivalent.You can’t develop appropriate training if you don’t understand the roles andresponsibilities of the staff who work in the organisation. Or work in hotelmanagement for a while – that gives a good all round experience of management.Ifyou could have any job in the world, what would it be?On a good day, this one – on a bad day, any job with Richard Branson.Doyou take your work home with you?   Yes.Whatis your motto?Tomorrow is another day.     Describeyour management style in three words or less.Work hard, play hard, don’t waffle.Howwould you like to be remembered by your colleagues?     She got things done. read more

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Anything you can do

first_imgAnything you can doOn 18 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. … a computer can do just as well – at least, if you believe thepredictions, it soon will, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence. Andit could have a profound and surprising impact on the role of HR. Jane LewisreportsAI – artificial intelligence as opposed to insemination – is suddenly backas a talking point. In fact, it probably has not loomed so large in the publicconsciousness since the days of Metal Mickey and K9. Even if you managed tobypass the recent children’s craze for robotic pets (including a particularlygruesome, “intelligent” giant scorpion as well as morerun-of-the-mill dogs and cats) you’re unlikely to escape the influence of thisautumn’s $90m blockbuster: Spielberg’s A.I: Artificial Intelligence. Best described as a kind of futurist’s Pinocchio, AI recounts the adventuresof a robot child that has been programmed to love. What he wants most, ofcourse, is to become a proper human child. Equally predictably, the baddies ofthe piece are also human – so paranoid about being usurped by more intelligent”mechas” or robots that their only mission is to destroy him. Preoccupations in fiction often reflect what is going on in real life, andAI is no exception. The tech market may be in the grips of the worst downturnit has ever seen but a substantial chunk of any spare capital still floatingaround is now being channelled in this direction. The industry is building onold foundations: the development of AI (aka “intelligent softwareagents”, “softbots” or “expert systems”) was once ahotbed of development talent, generally considered the next Big Thing in theindustry. But it got shoved on the back-burner following the sudden onslaughtof the communications revolution and the Internet. Now a new generation of systems is evolving and futurologists claim we willshortly witness a new wave of AI applications – this time heavily boosted bythe leap forward in communications technology. Intelligent systems will nolonger be standalone entities, so much as networked “agents”, capableof intelligently interacting with other agents and people. The momentum is such that even Japan, a nation currently ground down byeconomic misery, continues to lead the field in robot “pets”, capableof understanding simple verbal instructions, running households and monitoringsecurity. BT’s leading futurologist, Dr Ian Pearson thinks it likely that thesemobile “pets” will feature radio links to a smart computer elsewherein the house and that these devices will become common by about 2010. Systems are certainly getting cleverer in leaps and bounds. We areperiodically startled by their growing prowess in different fields – mostnotably, perhaps, in the ongoing battle of wits between Kasparov and IBM’schess wizard Deep Blue. Futurologists predict that computers will have matchedhuman intelligence by about 2015. But it is clear that in some fields they are already steaming ahead. Earlierthis summer, developers at Hewlett-Packard’s Bristol research centre surprisedeven themselves by creating a robot that outperformed six of the City’s beststock-market experts in a head-to-head joust. The most galling thing about the exercise is that they were not even reallytrying. According to Dave Cliff, who devised the experiment, the”bots” were programmed to be the simplest possible example of a robottrader, with the smallest amount of intelligence. He was highly sceptical abouttheir chances of coming out on top. “I never planned for them tooutperform humans,” he says. In fact, it is becoming obvious that computers are leading the waythroughout the money markets as a whole – both increasing the volume of tradeand the speed with which transactions are undertaken. We may be languishing ina bear market but figures show that the number of stocks and shares exchangedon Nasdaq one supposedly sluggish Friday afternoon this July exceeded the dailyrecord of the boom two years ago. In many ways this is down to a phenomenon of supply and demand thatenvironmental engineers call “induced traffic” – the more capacityyou build to ease congestion, the higher the overall rate of traffic becomes.And the faster computers become, the more they rule out the possibility ofeffective human competition. No human – not even a super-trader – can respondquickly enough in an environment in which heavily traded stocks such asMicrosoft and Intel routinely change value several times a second. But acomputer, programmed to follow certain rules on risk and price, can clean up. The human consequences of this are already apparent: once the programminghas been accomplished, the job is done. “A lot of what we’re doing is justwatching machines talk to other machines,” says one trader. Two othersspent the afternoon desultorily tossing a football back and forth. Back atNasdaq’s computer nerve centre, meanwhile, a solitary technician sat back andsupervised the movement of millions. If the outlook looks gloomy for City traders, the same is true across thespectrum of white-collar work as the next phase of AI – the automation of”mental” work – begins to kick in. Given that this is how 80 per centof us spend our gainful working hours, future prospects look interesting, tosay the least. We have already seen the impact that non-intelligent systems – typicallythose handling routine administrative tasks – has had on the workplace.”We can administrate faster and more effectively using electronic toolsthan we ever could using clerical intermediaries,” says BT’s Pearson. And the same is true of the entire product cycle. According to US think-tankthe World Future Society, the entire design and marketing cycle – idea,invention, innovation and imitation – in companies is continuing to shrinksteadily. As late as the 1940s, the product cycle stretched to 30-40 years.Today it seldom lasts 30-40 weeks. If automating routine tasks alone can achieve such widespread change on thecorporate landscape, imagine the impact that systems designed to mimic humanintelligence – in all its myriad forms – will have. The clear implication, saysPearson, is that large numbers of managerial and professional jobs are next inthe line of fire. And if your job is not actually eliminated completely, youcan bet that some of the “unique” skills and experience you bring toit will be. Who is likely to be affected first? According to the World Future Society,by 2005 expert systems incorporating robotics, machine vision, voicerecognition, speech synthesis and electronic data processing will be commonacross all industries, incorporating every sector from health services throughinsurance underwriting, law enforcement, travel, energy prospecting and whateveraspects of manufacturing and design that have not already been taken over byrobots. But the greatest change of all will come in the structure of futurecommercial institutions, which – thanks to AI – will bear very littleresemblance to their original forms, says Pearson. “We will move fromtraditional companies with management and workers, to virtual companies withcore management and project teams only.” Smart technology will ensure that these new-look, sparsely populatedcompanies will be lithe and highly adaptive – capable of being re-jigged anddisbanded at the drop of a hat to take advantage of the emerging market nichestheir super-sensitive expert systems have identified for them. The overalleffect will be to “generally disintermediate” the entire managementinfrastructure of a company” says Pearson. Some companies won’t be neededat all. It will be an environment in which the élite will thrive – often working forseveral companies at a time for high rewards. But the bulk of people will ineffect become commodity items, with a global supplier base. Nonetheless, the democratising aspect of systems means there will also beroom for some plodders – at least in the early days. Smart systems mean that asemi-educated clerk will be able to perform many of the functions previouslyreserved for professionals. And because budding entrepreneurs will not have toworry about all the administrative functions entailed in managing staff, itwill also be much easier to set up companies, says London Business Schoolresearch fellow, David Cannon. “AI means computers can learn very quicklyhow you are and how you operate, and adopt systems to match,” he says Almost certainly AI will also lead to enormous boosts in productivity. Infact, says Pearson, “It will go through the roof – so we will all be muchwealthier”. But the question hanging in the air, especially if you are anHR professional, is what on earth will happen to all those large numbers ofhumans who will no longer be needed to operate the productive side of theeconomy? More to the point, how do you decide which individuals and roles toretain, and which to consign to the scrapheap? Clearly in the first stages of the cycle, demand for engineers andtechnicians – as well as for computer-literate managers – is likely to growexponentially. But it is easy to predict a scenario in the not-too-distantfuture where even these “knowledge workers” in effect program them-selves into redundancy by creating electronic Frankensteins capable ofprogramming, regenerating and improving themselves indefinitely. In the long term, therefore, the only skills worth honing if you aredetermined to stay in the workplace (rather than sloping off to enjoy yourselfon the back of the predicted AI-inspired productivity boom) will be those leastcapable of being replicated by computer. “We’ll need a few ‘ideascreators’ and a few ‘assimilators’ to package their ideas into useful anddesirable products,” says Pearson airily. And it’s difficult to envisage ascenario in which expert human marketers will not be necessary – until, thatis, computers learn to experience and convey emotion. But the really irreplaceable jobs will be those majoring on intensely human,interpersonal attributes which involve caring and empathy. In the barren landscapeof a grey electro-world, these kind of skills will be like gold dust, saysPearson. And we will be prepared to pay a premium for them. “We will valuethe human as a human, not as a cog in the machine,” he says. Machines will liberate people to cope with much higher value transactions,aimed primarily at making life more pleasant. But we will pay through the nosefor such luxuries. According to one pundit, the time will come when dining in arestaurant, on food hand-cooked and served by humans, will be the ultimate inhigh living. Pearson believes that as technology gradually automates much of theintellectual side of work, people will find alternative channels for theirbrain power and competitive instincts. One prediction is that community activitywill become a much more important facet of life as people try to impose someorder on all those long, leisure-strewn hours. A possible result, he says, is that people may begin to form their sense ofidentity from their place and relationships in the community rather than fromtheir job – a process, one might argue, that is already well underway in thecelebrity industry. Taken to its logical conclusion, then, the shift into the AI era willclearly have a profound impact on almost every aspect of society and theeconomy – and on how our institutions are structured and run. Be prepared toturn current ideas about the status quo upside down. A good example Pearson cites is healthcare. At present the group at the topof the pecking order – both in terms of status and reward – are those who canboast the greatest expertise and experience, typically consultants andsurgeons. “But expert judgement and high precision accuracy willeventually become redundant skills, because they will lie firmly in the machinedomain”, he says. So who will be the new high earners? Those currently at the bottom of thepile – the nurses and carers whose intuitive actions and tender brow-moppingscannot be machine-replicated. From this perspective, as Pearson points out,”The current practice of sending nurses on degree courses is completelythe wrong direction to take.” The HR profession could be said to be equally short-sighted, as it tries toshed its role as hand-holding people in favour of areas such as generalstrategy and business management. But the ability to get the best out of peoplewill be huge in the new economy, says Cannon at London Business School. A highly symbolic change will be the way people interact with each other, hesays. “When people in this highly automated, virtual world actually meet,it will be something really big. That’s going to force greater pressure onpeople. “There will be a new kind of networking – not about informationswapping so much as “whether I can trust you or whether we have some kindof mutual benefit,” he adds. “The pressure on leadership will changeto emphasise areas like this ability to inspire trust.” Pearson is the first to admit that the new world order he outlines –particularly the elimination of all but a few people from most of the businesscycle – may seem difficult to get to grips with. But similarly strange thingshave happened before. As he points out, “If you’d told someone in the1920s that 80 per cent of the entire economy would be based on services by theend of the century, they would not have believed you.” So what sort of timescale are we looking at? The replacement of theinformation economy by the “care economy” will begin in earnestbetween 2015 and 2020, predicts Pearson – just at the point when AI broadlyapproaches the human equivalent. That should give you enough time to dust offthose lucrative tea-and-sympathy skills. Just make sure you don’t forget aspare clean hanky. last_img read more

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Nurses as gatekeepers to NHS

first_imgThe BMA has proposed that doctors should abandon their role as the sole‘gatekeepers’ to the NHS in a ground-breaking model of how doctors and nursesmight work together in the future. In a discussion document it proposes that care should initially be focusedaround nurses’ skills, who would co-ordinate the care around a patient, withdoctors concentrating on areas where their skills could best be used. This would mean, in primary care, nurse practitioners being the first portof call for patients, providing information and guidance to relevant services. In secondary care, clinical nurse specialists would be responsible forco-ordinating care given by other professionals, including doctors. Dr Ian Bogle, BMA chairman, said: “Those who work within the NHS needto take a long, hard look at how they work and how they might improve theservice and care they offer. Patients could be seen sooner by those with realexpertise.” A poll of 1,972 people conducted by the BMA to coincide with the documentfound 87 per cent said they would be happy to be seen by a nurse rather than adoctor if their condition was not serious. And 84 per cent said they would be happy to see a pharmacist for a repeat prescription,while 53 per cent thought that if they wanted to be sure of receiving the besttreatment they needed to see a hospital consultant and not someone less senior. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Nurses as gatekeepers to NHSOn 1 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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New legislation could lead to more tribunals

first_imgNew legislation designed to improve the rights of employees on fixed-termcontracts, including pay and pension entitlements, could open the floodgatesfor workplace disputes. This is the view of law firm Eversheds which claims the Fixed Term Work EUDirective, due to come into force in the UK by 10 July, is vague and open todifferent interpretations. Elaine Aarons, employment specialist at Eversheds, said: “Although theGovernment’s stated desire is to reduce the workload of the alreadyoverburdened employment tribunals, costly litigation caused by a lack ofunderstanding of what the new draft regulations require becomesinevitable.” Aarons said the directive states that fixed-term workers should be treatedthe same as permanent employees ‘where appropriate’ but does not clarify this. She added: “Whenever there are uncertainties in employment legislation,managers whose job it is to decide how to apply the rules in their individualworkplaces are put in an impossible position.” Aarons said the legislation is also not clear over whether employers willhave to provide pension benefits to cover past service by fixed-term workers. “In the case of a contributory pension scheme, would employees have tomake payments to cover past service and, again, how could these contributionsbe made given Inland Revenue limits? There are a lot of questions to beanswered,” said Aarons. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article New legislation could lead to more tribunalsOn 23 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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In brief

first_imgThis month’s training news in briefMerger completed As Training Magazine went to press, shareholders of SkillSoft and SmartForceapproved the merger of the two e-learning companies. SmartForce intends to dobusiness under the operating name of SkillSoft and is expected to pursuelegally changing its official name to SkillSoft in the near future.  www.skillsoft.comNVQ for care managers A new NVQ for the managers of adult care services, launched by awarding bodyEdexcel, is expected to form part of the requirements for registrationfollowing the introduction of national registers for residential care managersin 2003. As many as 20,000 managers are expected to seek registration withbodies including the General Social Care Council by 2005. NorthamptonshireCounty Council has already incorporated the NVQ into its workforce developmentprogramme and has 40 managers waiting to sign up for it.  www.edexcel.org.ukVodafone rings changes Vodafone has opted for a common approach and consistent message in welcomingnew employees by setting up a monthly induction event. The message throughoutthe day, designed by Jarvis Woodhouse, is about teamwork and Vodafone’sculture. An average 100 new starters attend the event each month fromthroughout the business and those who are unable to attend can use an onlineprogramme. Balvi Macleod, people development consultant at Vodafone, said thecourse is designed to give all new starters the same induction experienceregardless of which function they had joined.  www.jarvis-woodhouse.comLexus links up Car manufacturer Lexus and Nottingham Trent University have opened apurpose-built national dealer training centre for Lexus franchises at theUniversity’s Clifton Campus in the city. At its peak the training centre willdeal with more than 10,000 delegates a year.  www.lexus.co.ukE-learning via tills Lloyds Pharmacy has introduced a new bespoke e-learning system that can beaccessed from tills during quiet periods at the store. The programme, developedby BYG Systems, offers modules on till operation, back office systems, stockmanagement and personnel administration. Knowledge retention is reinforced bycustomer scenarios, summaries and assessments.  www.bygsystems.com Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article In briefOn 3 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Staff consultation could backfire warns CIPD

first_imgStaff consultation could backfire warns CIPDOn 7 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today Theforthcoming information and consultation legislation will be counter-productiveif it is used to force works councils on employers.Thatis the message from the CIPD in its response to consultation on thelegislation, which will ensure that companies consult with employees earlierand in more detail about issues which will affect their employment, such asredundancies and mergers.TheCIPD is calling for flexibility in the legislation, which comes into force asearly as 2005 for larger firms.DianeSinclair, lead adviser on public policy at the CIPD, fears that forcingorganisations to introduce bureaucratic structures such as works councils willbe counter-productive.Shebelieves they are often too remote to have a positive effect on staff involvement.The CIPD only wants work councils to be introduced if specifically requested byemployees.”TheGovernment should take a light touch on implementing the EU directive oninformation and consultation in the UK,” said Sinclair.”Itmust ensure the regulations maximise flexibility and allow organisations todevelop arrangements best suited to their circumstances. Legislation must notprescribe a one-size-fits-all structure which will not benefit either party.”www.cipd.co.uk Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

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MPs breathe life into corporate killing law

first_imgA renewed drive to establish the offence of corporate killing is to belaunched today by MPs from the three main political parties. Andrew Dismore, Labour MP for Hendon, is proposing amendments to theCriminal Justice Bill, designed to get the issue back on the political agenda.He is being backed by unions, safety organisations and fellow MPs. The Government has been promising to introduce the law since 1997, whichwill make it possible to find corporate bodies guilty of manslaughter. A regulatory impact assessment of the proposed law is being carried out, andLord Bassam of Brighton, speaking in the House of Lords, said the Governmentintends to table legislation as soon as it is finished. The changes are being backed by the TUC, Centre for Corporate Accountabilityand pressure group Disaster Action, which are launching a report today on whythe new offence is necessary, to coincide with the meeting of ministers. Owen Tudor, TUC senior policy officer, said: “We hope to create debatein the House of Commons so the amount of support for it will be evident to theGovernment.” A recent report by the HSE said a new offence of corporate killing would actas a powerful deterrent to prevent needless injuries and deaths. However, Diane Sinclair, CIPD lead adviser on public policy, has doubts overthe effectiveness of the proposed law, because companies should already beabiding by health and safety regulations and protecting staff. “Does highlighting bad practice improve others’ practice?” sheasked. Sinclair added that the law already provides for unlimited fines where theyare warranted, as well as the imprisonment of directors and others found to beindividually liable. Comments are closed. MPs breathe life into corporate killing lawOn 11 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Liberal Democrats call for abolition of the DTI

first_img Comments are closed. The Liberal Democrats have called for the Department of Trade and Industry(DTI) to be abolished and its workload distributed to other Governmentagencies. Dr Vincent Cable, the shadow trade and industry minister, accused the DTI ofcreating unnecessary bureaucracy and said it no longer had a place in modernbusiness. “The DTI should be wound up because it doesn’t perform a function. Ithas no real role anymore and only exists as a contact point for industrywithout delivering what [industry] actually wants – which is lessregulation,” he argued. In an exclusive interview with Personnel Today, Cable said the DTI actuallyadds to the regulatory burden with over-complex legislation and a multitude ofred tape, often pushing government administration onto employers. “The Government wants companies to do its administration free of chargethrough things like family tax credits and student loans collection,” hesaid. His solution would be to split the DTI’s duties between other governmentdepartments, such as Work and Pensions and Education and Skills, and to set-upa new ‘red tape busting’ agency. Cable also claims the Government is mishandling EU legislation, comparingthe ease with which The Netherlands dealt with working time rules to the UK’s80-page document. He went on to criticise the DTI’s decision in October last year to appointUS management guru Michael Porter to produce a report on productivity in theUK, claiming he was already something of a cliché in the private sector sixyears ago. He also rejects trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt’s criticism ofmanagers as a key reason for the UK’s poor productivity compared to its majorcompetitors. Instead of poor management, Cable blames the UK’s disappointingproductivity on ageing capital stock and a chronic lack of investment ineducation. By Ross Wigham Liberal Democrats call for abolition of the DTIOn 25 Mar 2003 in Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Scottish councils urged to go online

first_img Previous Article Next Article Councils in Scotland are being called upon to promote the use of e-learningin their local areas to boost staff development. The call comes from the E-learning Alliance, following its agreement withthe Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, where 30 councils joined thealliance. Kenneth Fee, chief executive of the alliance – which promotes the use ofe-learning throughout Scotland – says that using new technologies to learn,train and do business will be vital if Scotland’s economy is to continue togrow. “The councils have the power and influence to encourage greater use ofe-learning in their areas,” says Fee. “In particular, we would like to work with councils to use e-learningin providing development opportunities. We also want to work with educationauthorities to develop increased use of e-learning in schools.” www.elearningalliance.co.uk Comments are closed. Scottish councils urged to go onlineOn 1 Feb 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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