INTO, a private company offering university preparatory courses for overseas students, is in talks with the University of Essex about a joint venture. In an e-mail to staff in the International Academy (formerly the English language teaching centre), Colin Riordan the vice-chancellor, said: "Should the venture proceed, staff would remain employed by the university. The university would also retain complete control over quality and academic management issues. Potential advantages of a partnership, apart from the integration of provision, would be to open up access to INTO's worldwide marketing operation, giving us representation in countries and areas it is difficult for us to reach. INTO would also make significant capital investment in teaching and residential accommodation."