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Jisc Netskills works primarily with the further and higher education sectors in the UK both of which have been going through disruption and change stemming in part from the prevailing economic conditions. In 2010 the Browne Review (Browne 2010) into higher education funding and student finance has led to change and a certain amount of uncertainty in HE institutions. Many FE institutions are also experiencing cutbacks and redundancies.
As the Jisc family of organisations relies on funding from these sectors this has led to a parallel review into the services that Jisc provides by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the source of most of Jisc’s funding (Jisc 2013). This review recognised the value of jisc to the education sector but also suggested changes to the way Jisc is operated and structured partly to “rationalise services and projects with a view to significantly reducing their number”.
At the time of this research neither Netskills or Infonet faced any specific threat to their continued operation but as can be seen from the analysis of the interviews, the need to demonstrate Netskills’ value and expertise in some way was a priority for some participants.
Next page: The Netskills context