Internet Exchange, a network of IT training centres, is to offer free Microsoft certified professional training to SMEs in London.
The organisation, in partnership with urban regeneration company Prevista, has been awarded funding from the Learning and Skills Council and the European Social Fund to offer the training and certification to London businesses with less than 250 employees.
The initiative is designed to help businesses develop in-house skills, and increase staff retention and quality standards. It aims to equip companies with the skills to deal with IT issues that would normally require outside contractors.
Users can access the training at work, at home or at any of Internet Exchange's 19 branches, sited mainly in public libraries in London and Bristol. There are online tutors available 24 hours a day and in-store trainers available at least six days a week.
Marcin Lai, project manager at Internet Exchange, said, "IT training is normally a major expense for any company, especially small businesses and start-ups, but now they can get professional training for their staff at no cost to themselves. Market conditions are tough at the moment and this gives companies a chance to boost their effectiveness."
Kate Haywood, project manager at consultancy Ecotec, said, "We are confident this programme will help small businesses engage staff in higher-level skills training. The project focuses on priority sectors and supports sustainability long term."
Companies interested in the scheme should e-mail Marcin Lai at:
This was first published in May 2005