Headlines: November 27th, 2003

The scheme set up to equip all National Health Service staff with basic computer skills has been voted Online Learning Solution of the Year. The NHS Information Authority’s European Computer Driving Licence took the award at the World of Learning Conference and Exhibition after being highly praised by the judges.Since the ECDL service was launched in March this year more than 40,000 people have registered for IT training, and the prestigious award may be only the first for the scheme. It has also been nominated for two further accolades by the Institute of IT Training – e-Learning Project of the Year and Internal Project of the Year.

The scheme offers NHS staff training in basic IT skills and an internationally recognised qualification. It is managed for the Information Authority but provided by a consortium, led by Spring IT Training, which delivers a national tracking and monitoring service for registered trainees as well as access to the learning and testing materials. The consortia of suppliers have also been nominated for a total of five awards between them.

The WOLCE Awards are recognised as being among the training industry’s premier prizes and are designed to identify and reward exceptional individuals and organisations who have significantly advanced workplace productivity and performance. ECDL Service Manager, Carol Hulm, said she understood that this year’s awards had seen a record number of entries but the Information Authority was voted the outright winner after judges recognised its “significant impact on users’ performance in an organisation”.

Dr Gwyn Thomas, the Information Authority’s Chief Executive said basic training in IT was essential as it gave NHS staff with the skills they needed for the effective electronic sharing of health information, and made it easier for them to access digital knowledge information services, which were playing an increasing role in decision making.