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The Securities and Investment Institute (SII) have announced a new initiative to take their Introduction to Investment Award into FE Colleges, teaming up with leading examinations company Pearson VUE.

The partnership will see the SII's award move onto a screen near you thanks to the technology of Pearson VUE, and will enable students taking the test to participate in a computer based version. The test offers a one hour exam to be taken by students wishing to enter the securities and investment industry, and is a pioneering programme to improve participation amongst FE learners who have traditionally felt excluded from the field.

Expanding Delivery

The Introduction to Investment Award will be delivered in this way to some twenty FE Colleges in 2006 as a pilot scheme. These include Northbrook College in Sussex, the Manchester College of Arts and Technology, Park Lane College in Leeds and Tower Hamlets College in London. Following the successful completion of this trial, the programme will then be offered to some 100 colleges and schools by the end of 2007.

The agreement to work together brings together two important players in their markets. The SII was established in 1992, and aims to set the standards of professional excellence and integrity for their industry by providing qualifications and promoting the highest standards for their members. The charitable organisation is the principal awarding body for industry qualifications. Last year alone, the SII welcomed some 35,000 candidates to their examinations.

The name Pearson VUE is a leading international name in their market. They are the global leader in providing electronic testing services for academic admissions, as well as for certification and licensing programmes. Their examinations are on offer through their 4,000 test centres throughout 145 countries, making it the largest network of examination centres. They specialise in making use of innovative technology to offer greater security and control to their clients.

The Aim of the VUE

Commenting on the award and the new partnership agreement, Ruth Martin, Managing Director of the SII, was at pains to highlight the importance of both. She said: "The aim of the Introduction to Investment Award is to provide individuals looking for a career in the financial services industry with an understanding of the breadth of the industry, the regulatory framework, how the industry functions and the basics of the various financial instruments. By delivering the exam electronically, through Pearson VUE's Promissor system it will enable us to offer colleges the flexibility to deliver the test not only at a time convenient to the candidate but, most importantly, within the college premises."

The Pearson VUE view was equally positive. Paul Howarth, the Managing Director for Pearson VUE, said: "We are delighted the SII chose Pearson VUE as its testing solution partner for its move into the FE College market. We look forward to bringing the many benefits of electronic testing to the colleges that will be participating in this pilot."

Jethro Marsh

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