I found a very useful opportunity to train using IT (On or Off Line coaching) to get qualifications in IT from basic user to programmer level over the next 12 months, This is through a web site that offers a Government grant of up to £200 that is open to anyone providing they contribute the first £35 for 6 months or £50 for 12 months....this can be fully refunded if you take the European Computer Driving Licence qualification which is very basic.... and this is an offer for over 700 professional courses. I have been studying some of the materials onthe course and can report that they are very user friendly especially for anyone not used to studying. I am learning excel and for years I have found this difficult. The course presents it very simply with diagrams and pictures of the screen as one uses excel. The offer of financial support is made through the government's Individual Learning Account or ILA worth over £200 per individual.... anyone can apply even if you are in work, for one of these accounts. This is to help people to develop their skills in a lifelong learning economy. Since my first article on this subject the booking conditions have changed. Applicants are now offered one full week's access to free on-line training in any of the courses so you can have a good look round and try out some courses. After this, you need to pay £35 for a six month access to courses or £50 for 12 months access. All refunded if you take the European computer driving licence qualification mentioned above. Courses include:- Business Communication,Writing Skills, Customer Service,Grammar Skills, Basics of Business Maths,Motivation,Negotiating, Closing the Deal,Professional Development and Management Time Management, Word, Excel, Access 2000, Computer Security Awareness,Database Concepts,Programming: DP Concepts, Introduction to Teleprocessing,Networking: Data Communication for End Users, Computer Basics,European Computer Driving Licence 1
-10, The World Wide Web and Electronic Mail...etc, etc... If you locate the site www.epacts.co.uk/ and then apply for any of their courses you can be registered by filling in the forms on-line using the following:- Apply in your own name giving your details, then enter hotvouchers in the selection box that deals with how you will pay.... then add the following credit card number and expiry date:= 1021095353 10/01. This number has been given by Epacts to bypass their usual credit card booking procedures so that you do not need to risk using your card on a non-secure site. The number also lets Epacts know that you have heard about this course on-line. In a couple of days you should receive some forms to complete from Epacts; the training company and when you return these, your ILA will be activated and a password will be sent out so you can access the courses on-line. I try to study something different each year (from web sites to weaving) and this is an on-line alternative to local adult education classes that cannot always meet our needs. As a source of funds for training, I am pleased to be able to get something back from the government after paying taxes over many years. I only wish that there were other opportunities like this for people to access computers and courses in IT as I have a number of interested neighbours who would love to get on line but they are all over 70 years old and too infirm to travel to our town library to use the net, and too poor to buy PCs.
I have been attending a computer course since January that is almost free, flexible and leads to a recognised qualification. Like a lot of people I am vaguely competent in the computer department, but would like to be better and it wouldn't go amiss on my cv. The course is a 100 hour City and Guilds qualification in computer applications Level one consisting of three modules: word processing, access database and excel spreadsheets, to be done in this order. There is a similar Level 2 programme and a complete beginner 30 hour starter course on offer. The cost is £34.05 for certification. Training, exam entry and use of computers is completely free. Tektra, the company offering this is funded by the government, hence the low price. They offer this course in partnership with local colleges, but in a non college IT centre. It is a nationwide scheme you can get a list of participating IT centres at www.tektra.com. The basic format is a room of computer terminals where people book sessions to work through open learning workbooks. There is a tutor on hand if you get stuck, there are also regular reviews of your progress, so If you really have problems you are not just expected to get on with it. I like the fact that I can work at my own pace. Although, it may not be the course for you if you are more motivated by the social contact of a traditional evening class. You have an induction session where you enrol and decide on whether to attend for 4 or 6 hours a week. There is no fixed time slot, so subject to computer availability, you can book for any time during the week as long as it is for the amount of hours that you decide on. You can do more than your prescribed hours, if you turn up on spec and there are available computers, but you can't book extra hours. They are quite strict about nonattendance people who skip sessions three times are kicked off the course. My centre is open for 64 hours a week this inclu
des all day Saturday and to 9pm on several evenings. You are eased into the course through an induction workshop. Workshops are a little less flexible than learning sessions, they try to have a number of evening and Saturday sessions, but I have found myself waiting a couple of weeks to attend a workshop. The 100 hours given to complete the whole course is flexible and there is a bit of leeway either way. A progression path through the course goes something like this: 1 Complete learning workbook 2 Towards the end of this book review with tutor to check your progress 3 Mock assessment 4 Book another review 5 pre-assessment workshop 6 assessment 7 start again with next module. This is a great course popular with all ages, not dependent on being unemployed and totally flexible. Phew! think that?s just about everything, my longest review yet I'm knackered I think I need a lie down.