Training: Kelly eyes agency

Education secretary Ruth Kelly’s drive to raise standards in further education and training in England has spawned a new body – the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA).

Its primary goals are to help colleges and training organisation respond to relevant government reforms and encourage a culture of self-improvement in the sector. The QIA launch follows the Foster report on further education and, in March, the announcement of extra funding for colleges to encourage them to provide more vocational training to the 16-26 age group.

Kelly said: “QIA will provide a national focus for quality improvements in the learning and skills sector and act as a catalyst for change, supporting all institutions to move towards our vision of excellence for the sector. It will bring together a range of quality improvement activities that are currently spread between different organisations, making it easier for them to locate a single source of expertise.”

The QIA is based in Coventry and its initial annual budget is 92m, of which 86m will be spent on quality-related products and activities.
Chief executive Andrew Thomson said: “Everything we do must contribute to a better economy and a better society.”

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