§ Dr. George Turner
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he is taking to help businesses ensure that employees have the skills required to exploit modern communications and electronics. 87W
§ Mr. Wicks:
[holding answer 9 December 1999]: This Department funds a number of initiatives to help individuals and businesses acquire the skills needed to exploit information and communications technologies (ICT). The University for Industry (WI) will offer new learning opportunities to individuals and businesses when it is launched in Autumn 2000—one of its priorities is ICT for the workplace. My Department is putting in place a network of up to 700 ICT Learning Centres to enable adults in the most disadvantaged areas to have access to ICT-based learning. There are a number of relevant employer-led National Training Organisations supported by my Department which offer help to employers. The IT, Communications and Electronics Skills Strategy Group, chaired by Alan Stevens, has produced a report containing options for further action in this area. We shall respond to it shortly. In addition, the Department of Trade and Industry provides support through the Information Society Initiative which aims to raise awareness, and use, of IT and related technologies amongst businesses.