Headlines: August 19th, 2005

Living without the Internet is increasingly becoming a luxury. According to research by UKOnline Centres everyday transactions, such as buying a video, paying the gas bill and reading newspapers could yield savings of up to 283 pounds per year, if carried out online. Hairnet, the not-for-profit organization which seeks to bring IT literacy, via appropriate training, to those who might not otherwise find access easy, has called on public bodies to tackle more firmly the issue of IT literacy of customers such as residents, tenants and service-user.Hairnet argues that there is a fundamental need to help people to build their capacity to use IT to live their lives as independently as possible and to participate effectively in their own life and work, that of their family, community and the wider world. There is also the issue of the speed of development of new technology and the need to keep people alive to new developments so that customers can benefit from them in a timely way.

Funding is constantly a barrier to encouraging IT literacy, but there are organizations that can help such as the London Advice Services Alliance http://www.lasa.org.uk/knowledgebase/pages/Buyfunding.shtml

The Learning and Skills Council is also a potential source of funding and the London East Council sponsored 150 customers of Springboard Housing, who completed an IT learning programme recently. Certificates were received by learners most of whom, a year ago, had not touched a computer.