Lecturers for hire move in on universities

April 7, 1995

The agency preparing a national database of self-employed college lecturers for hire is planning to move into higher education.

Education Lecturing Services aims to register up to 400,000 lecturers to enable further education colleges to phase out part-time staff. Since its public launch a month ago, ELS says it has had positive responses from 150 colleges after holding 18 information seminars around the country. The company has already been contacted by 2,300 lecturers ahead of its planned national recruitment campaign, due to be launched after Easter.

Chief executive Geoff Lennox said four universities have also been in touch and closer talks are being held with two of them. "We already have a further education advisory board of principals assisting us and it looks as if we can ask these two universities to help us put a similar project together for higher education," he said.

"We are sure the system could be developed very quickly to meet the needs of higher education."

ELS is preparing to move into an office in Nottingham and has recruited senior staff. Board members, apart from Mr Lennox and Colleges' Employers Forum chief Roger Ward, have yet to be named. Start-up costs of Pounds 5.5 million are being met by consultancy group Bowmer and Kirkland.

The CEF has set up the Principals' Advisory Board, whose mission is "to ensure that the ELS services meet the needs of the further education sector".

However the relationship between CEF and the agency worries some college principals.

Brian Styles at Bristol College of Technology said: "I am uneasy about the mandate which the CEF has to endorse such an organisation because of the potential conflict of interest.

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