University of Leicester eBulletin

Building on a Firm Foundation

April 2002

No 81   

The University of Leicester is to host a national conference on the development of foundation degrees on Friday, May 24, 2002.

“East Midlands Foundation Degrees – Building on a Firm Foundation” aims to raise the profile of foundation degrees, looking at them from both Higher and Further Education perspectives as well as from an employer’s point of view.  

Issues to be addressed include market research into the development of foundation degrees, progression from foundation degrees to honours degrees, and work-based learning.

The keynote speaker will be from the DfES.  

Other major speakers will include Mrs Tansi Harper, East Midlands Regional Consultant for the Higher Education Funding Council (England) (HEFCE); Dr Tony Berry, Chair of the East Midlands Universities Association (EMUA) Foundation Degree Task Group; Mr Martin Briggs, Chief Executive of the East Midlands Development Agency (emda), and Bob Lewis, Senior Manager, Learning & Development, Cisco Systems Ltd.

Foundation degrees were first introduced in September 2001 as a new Higher Education qualification designed with employers to meet the growing demand for highly skilled people who can apply knowledge of their subject to the workplace.

Courses are delivered full-time or part-time, with work-based learning and distance learning components.   They can therefore be studied at work, college or home.   

The involvement of employers and national training organisations means that foundation degrees meet national occupational standards and reflect the needs of the different employment sectors.

The University of Leicester was the only university in the East Midlands to receive prototype funds to develop foundation degrees and is a major provider, internationally, of distance learning. 

Ms Jackie Dunne, Director of Continuing Professional Development at the University of Leicester, said:

“The University of Leicester is highly committed to foundation degrees, as part of its lifelong learning strategy, and current programmes in Educational Studies for Teaching Assistants and Security and Risk Management are very successful. As a leading institution in this field, the University is delighted to be hosting this national event.”

Dr Celia R Neale, Project Officer of EMUA added: “The East Midlands Universities Association has helped to facilitate Foundation Degree developments across the East Midlands both in HE institutions and FE colleges, with funding from East Midlands Development Agency. These new courses will help to widen participation in higher education across many sectors and will also assist in raising the skills level of the region helping to make the East Midlands a top 20 European region by 2010”.

Further information on the Conference, and foundation degree activities across the East Midlands is available from Dr Celia R Neale, Project Officer, EMUA, telephone 01509 228699, email For more details on University of Leicester foundation degrees contact Ms Jackie Dunne, Director of Continuing Professional Development, University of Leicester, telephone 0116 252 5911, facsimile 0116 252 5909, email

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