Job Centre signs up to Internet

9th March 2001 at 00:00
A new website containing every job vacancy listed with the Employment Service could mean the days of staring at cards in the local Job Centre are numbered.

Worktrain offers access to some 300,000 jobs that can be searched in a range of ways, such as on a regional basis. The Department for Education and Employment promises to update the information regularly.

In addition, the site provides details of about half-a-million training courses. The idea is that users can easily discover the qualifications or training they need for a specific job and where to gain them.

A "useful info" section offers tips on writing CVs, interview techniques, benefits and childcare, and it is possible to save searches and make notes.

David Blunkett, the Education and Employment Secretary, yesterday launched Worktrain, a service offered by UK Online, the pound;250 million government initiative that aims to offer Internet access to everyone.

One of the key planks of UK Online is the creation of 6,000 centres by the end of 2002, which will accommodate computers for public use. Mr Blunkett also launched the first 1,200 cetres now open for business.

Michael Wills, the learning and technology minister, said the centres - in libraries, churches, colleges, community centres and even mobile facilities - is one way of tackling the "digital divide" between computer haves and have-nots.

He said the hope is that people will get a taste of the Internet and discover how easy, non-threatening and useful it can be. Support will be available to guide novices though the process.

"We want people to learn to use technology to pursue their own interests, so sending an e-mail to your grandchild is an important educational outcome," Mr Wills said. Gaining such skills will in turn help people get jobs, he added.

The initiative is targeted at disadvantaged communities including Britain's 2,000 most deprived wards, rural areas with transport problems and disadvantaged sectors of society with low or no technology skills.

Local centres can be located by dialling 08080 100 400. Mr Wills promised that calling "might just change your life for the better".

Worktrain: Online:

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