PUBLIC SECT0R: Consolidated aids Ufi learndirect enrolment

The Government's employment training scheme University for Industry

(Ufi) has announced a boost in media relations activity as it attempts

to attract more recruits.

Consolidated Communications has been hired, following a COI-organised

pitch and on a three-month project basis, to drive enrolment to its

1,300 learndirect centres.

And Elizabeth Underwood, Ufi corporate comms manager, has indicated that

more pitches will takes place next year for further campaigns.

Just 500,000 people have used the scheme, since it was set up in


The Department for Education and Skills, which funds the scheme, wants

to boost this number to one million a year by 2005.

Consolidated has been hired to handle a £300,000, predominantly

media relations campaign to take place between January and March.

The Ufi already has three retained PR firms, handling liaison with local

authorities and regional media relations.

Citigate Public Affairs handles UK-wide PA, Strategy Wales PA and media

work in Wales and Weber Shandwick Worldwide on a PA and media relations

brief in Northern Ireland. All were hired following a COI pitch in

August (PRWeek, 17 August).

Consolidated will work alongside WSW and Strategy Wales on campaigns in

their regions. All agencies report to Underwood, who heads a six-strong

team based in Sheffield.

She said: 'This will be followed by more campaigns, the hiring of

agencies will be handled by the COI'

In September The Grayling Group helped Ufi with a media relations

campaign to promote the learndirect helpline.

Phil Wade, Ufi marketing and comms director has appointed Cheryl Simm as

head of marketing.

She joined two weeks ago from company Financial Services.

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