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UK Online centres launched


The government has launched a series of new centres giving public access to computers and the internet around the country.

1,200 UK online centres have been opened in an attempt by the government to 'bridge the digital divide' between those who have access to the internet and computer technology and those who do not. The new centres will point people towards points of access on the web which can provide them with information on careers and learning opportunities. A quarter will also provide access to online learning, similar to the service provided by the LearnDirect centres already in place around the country.

David Blunkett
Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett also announced plans to equip and open a further 1050 UK online centres around the country in the next phase of the scheme. Commenting on the launch, he said: "A recent DfEE survey found that 68 per cent of professionals have used the Internet compared with 22 percent of the semi-skilled and unskilled workers. Older people and those from ethnic minorities are also less likely to have access to the Internet. The centres aim to attract people who may feel technology is not for them, such as people with basic skills needs, lone parents, people over 60, those with disabilities, people from minority ethnic groups and unemployed people."

Information about where the centres can be found can be obtained by ringing 08080 100 400.

TrainingZONE says: All well and good, but there seems to be some confusion about the aims of these centres and those already set up under the LearnDirect banner launched at the end of 1999. It would seem to make sense to expand LearnDirect rather than create a whole new scheme, but then cynics might say a two schemes look better than one...


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