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In line with the Government's initiative to open 2,000 Internet access centres across the UK, Derbyshire County Council has announced the opening of its seventh Learndirect centre in Glossop, writes Marc Ambasna-Jones.
The Learndirect centres provide technology-based learning and offer Internet access to people throughout Derbyshire.
The courses, for people over the age of 16, are designed to improve skills and help residents compete more effectively in the jobs market. They include numeracy and literacy skills, using the Internet, business and management skills for small businesses, computer skills, and getting to grips with different software packages.
"The Learndirect centres offer Derbyshire residents a chance to learn about the Internet and computers and pick up the kind of essential skills that are becoming increasingly important in the workplace," said councillor Alan Charles, chairman of education at Derbyshire County Council.
With £500,000 joint funding from the council and the Government, the Learndirect centres are starting to appear across the county.
The new centre in Glossop contains a suite of computers with Internet access. Other centres are based in Alfreton, Clay Cross, Codnor, Ilkston, New Mills and Shirebrook, with an eighth opening in Swadlincote in the next few months.
Derbyshire County Council teamed up with PC supplier Elonex to kit out the Learndirect centres. Each centre has 10-networked Pentium III machines running Windows 2000 and packages such as desktop publishing. They currently ISDN 2 connections, but these are soon to be upgraded to ADSL, offering 2Mbyte broadband access.
In addition to its drive towards offering Internet and computer training, the council has also embarked on a programme to link local libraries to its county-wide Concerto network. There are now 27 libraries on the system, enabling the public to access the entire catalogue of material in Derbyshire.
The system has the additional benefit that only one membership card is needed for all of the libraries on the network. It also speeds up counter service and the supply of requested items.
- Offers residents the opportunity to learn about IT and the Internet
- Provides access to otherwise expensive course material
- Courses also aim to improve numeracy and literacy
- The county has fully embraced technology to try and offer its residents access to improved services and opportunities.