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The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) has a tough job ahead of it.

Not only does it need to spread the word about its existence, it needs to convince sceptics of its necessity in an industry which knows what it wants.

With this supplement, we hope to aid the ETF in that first task.

Although the organisation officially started its life August last year, our focus is on its direction under the stewardship of new chief executive David Russell, who is profiled in the pages which follow.

We also hope to spell out the ETF’s approach with its expert panels, and will introduce you to its board and tell you a bit of the backstory.

As part of our work to introduce you to the ETF, we carried out a survey of members of the sector, the results of which have revealed some interesting things about how the fledgling organisation is perceived and the areas of the industry which seem most engaged with it so far.

The responses may have come from a variety of people in different areas of the sector, but one thing is very clear from their answers — the word hasn’t spread as far as it needs to just yet.

Of 234 people questioned on the progress of the ETF so far, 41 per cent said they did not know how the organisation was progressing, while 13 per cent said they did not even know what the ETF was.

Another point made crystal clear by those who responded to the survey was that ETF’s engagement needs to be thorough and wide-ranging.

Of 234 respondents to a question about who the organisation should be working most closely with, 55 per cent said people in all roles should be involved.

And 69 per cent of respondents said the ETF should be using social media, newsletters by post or email and its website to reach people across the sector.

Of the 192 survey respondents who told us what their job role was, 33 per cent said they were heads of departments, 20 per cent were directors, 15 per cent were curriculum managers and just over 10 per cent were managing directors. The rest were tutors, lecturers and principals.

Most responses came from FE colleges (49 per cent) and independent learning providers (34 per cent).

The results tell us a lot of things, but mostly affirm a view across the sector that the ETF, like any organisation, must prove itself, and that Mr Russell has got a bigger job ahead of him than simply finding the paper clips.