East Lancashire's 50-plus students excel in IT training

AN IT course has seen a rise in over-50s students as East Lancashire's biggest employers get to grips with the latest technological changes.

The IT User Qualification ‘cloud’ course at Blackburn College has been given a glowing reference by bosses who say it has given their firms the edge.

Since making IT courses remote the average student age has soared from 17 to closer to retirement age.

Blackburn College has been working with a host of firms including East Lancashire Hospital Trust, NHS, BAE Systems, MITIE, Bolton at Home and Twin Valley Homes.

The classes, taught remotely via e-portfolios, Cloud technology and mobile phones are tailored to their needs.

Eight staff at Child Action North West completed and passed the ITQ. Manager Marion Thomson said: “Four of the eight were managers – all aged 50 plus – and we did it at our desks during regular work with a tutor alongside us. It has been done as an apprenticeship and we didn’t have to pay for it.

“We have found that gaining the qualification increased confidence, it has given a professional edge to our work and presentations, which has been commented on, and we are looking to move it forward again.”

The IT User Qualification was set up by Peter Couch at Blackburn College.

He said: “For years now many people in the workplace are expected to readily know and understand IT in general and be able to use it to its fullest extent. However, in many cases people are self-taught or literally just “fathom their way through” the technology whether it be a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone and know that there must be an easier or more efficient way of working.

“Each student’s course is very specific and we make it all relevant to their particular job or company needs.”

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