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Spreadsheets ahoy!

When new computers were installed at Mayflower International Marina last year, staff soon realised that they needed to refresh their IT skills.

Three of the 14 employees began a free 10-week spreadsheet course at the learndirect centre in Plymouth.

Mayflower, which offers berthing and other boatyard services, must maintain accurate information on the hundreds of boats and their owners that use the marina each year.

After completing the spreadsheets course, office manager Angela Rhodes and a colleague returned for a further 10-week course on databases. She is in no doubt that it has made a difference.

"We can run the whole of the berthing operation through what we learned on the course," she says. "In the past I used to have to write things out by hand. Now the manager can go in and get reports. It gives us better information at the touch of a button."

Mayflower encouraged its employees to attend the courses during work time and paid the pound;29 fee for the second course.

Ms Rhodes, who has worked at Mayflower for 12 years, believes that it was better to attend the centre because it meant they could switch off from work for a few hours.

"Learndirect have said that they will keep in touch," she adds. "It's nice to have the opportunity to use modern systems. When you have been in a job for a long time, you get set in your ways."

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