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HEFCE has welcomed an evaluation of Lifelong Learning Networks (LLNs) which shows the programme has achieved well against its objectives, and has improved progression opportunities for learners on vocational programmes into and through higher education.

The evaluation report by SQW found that:

  • Information, advice and guidance for learners on vocational programmes has improved.
  • There are several thousand progression agreements in place and LLNs estimated that over 19,500 learners have progressed via these routes, with potential for nearly 55,000 learners to benefit over time.
  • The programme has led to the development of new curricula, often involving employers.
  • The programme has made an important contribution to other policy areas such as employer engagement and the development of new 14-19 qualifications.
  • There have been many instances of cultural change across institutions. For example, some research-intensive higher education institutions saw an increase in the number of offers to students holding National Diplomas.

The report recommends that institutions, both those who took part in the programme and those who did not, should seek to build upon and embed the wealth of good practice developed through the networks.

The LLN programme was established in 2004. The role of LLNs is recognised as important to developing relationships with partner institutions that enable them to deliver programmes of activity enhancing the coherence, clarity and certainty of opportunities for vocational learners.

'Summative evaluation of the Lifelong Learning Network programme'