Headlines: August 4th, 2005

Every adult in Scotland will be offered up to 100 pounds to improve their computer skills. This offer from the Scottish Executive applies to everyone in Scotland over 18, regardless of income. The scheme results from a demand from employers for formal accreditation of ICT skills. Research by the Executive revealed that even where people might consider themselves to have basic ICT skills, relatively few have any formal qualifications as proof of their expertise.The ‘across the board’ offer is a supplement to the Individual Learning Account programme already in place. This offers low income learners up to 200 pounds a year to pay for courses to help them get back into work. How the learner uses these funds is up to them; they might want to use it for one single course or for several smaller courses throughout the year. A learner year runs for 12 months from when an individuals learning account is set up. Since the ILA Scotland scheme was launched last December, over 9,000 learners have signed up to the programme.

The Scottish Executive believes that the programme should help to ensure long-term sustainable economic growth and create a business environment which actively encourages innovation, entrepreneurialism and high skill levels. The programme has been welcomed by a range of organisations, including the Scottish Trades Union Congress.