Mandelson launches new IT courses for adults

IT courses

New IT courses are set to give thousands of adults the computer skills they need, according to a new Government initiative.

Launched today by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson at the Learning and Technology World Forum, "Online Basics" comes as a response to Baroness Estelle Morris's Review of ICT User Skills, published in June 2009, which recommended courses for the 11.6 million adults in England who do not have basic IT skills.

Lord Mandelson said in a statement: "Everyone should be a confident user of the internet if they are to participate fully in today's digital society."

He added: "Online Basics will mean more people accessing vital IT skills, enhancing their working lives and making digital literacy as important a skill as basic literacy and numeracy."

The courses will be trialled in UK online centres in Barnsley, Oldham, Gloucester, Devon and London over the next three months and Becta, which helped developed the courses, will evaluate the results.

A full roll out is expected across England in September 2010 with courses available online for free.

The announcement comes on the same day Prime Minister Gordon Brown reiterated his pledge to invest 30 million into giving free computers and internet access to low income families.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.