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Using Computers

Using Computers

Are you new to the web?
If you’re new to using the Internet try this entertaining on-line tour free from the BBC, you can work it at your own pace without pressure!

This is another entertaining virtual tour which shows you how to use your computer keyboard and mouse and introduces some of the "words" used in computing.

Free help is also available to get you started at all public libraries, as part of the network of UK online Centres.

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LearnDirect Centres
Whether you're young or old, a complete beginner or just wanting to top up your skills LearnDirect has something for you. LearnDirect Centres are located in places that are easily accessible.

You'll find them in Sports Clubs, Leisure and Community Centres, Churches, Libraries, on University Campuses; even in Railway Stations!

They are there to help you get started - no matter when and where you decide to learn.

Your LearnDirect Centre can help you get started on your course and will provide you with access to a computer on which you can work through it.

Facilities range from crèches, cafés, parking, free internet access, lending libraries, games rooms and desktop publishing facilities. It varies from centre to centre so check when you arrive what they have to offer or give them a ring beforehand.

Click here to find your nearest LearnDirect Centre.

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The stuff that dreams are made of
A UK online centre in West Yorkshire gave Cheryl O’Gorman the confidence and skills she needed to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a secretary.

Now a successful school administrator, Cheryl says that ICT has become ‘second nature’ to her and she couldn’t be happier in her career.

But Cheryl’s future didn’t always seem that bright. She left school with few qualifications and soon found herself working long shifts in the factories of her native Todmorden. A longed-for move into retail came, but was cut short when Cheryl discovered she was pregnant.

Not to be beaten, Cheryl decided that the time had come to learn the skills she needed to follow her childhood dream and to give her life a new direction.

It turned out that visiting her local UK online centre, Todmorden Community College, couldn’t have been any easier. The centre was only five minutes’ walk from where Cheryl lived, and staff there were able to offer her expert advice on which courses to take to achieve her career goals. Soon Cheryl was making excellent progress towards a CLAIT qualification, and was offered a job as a switchboard operator.

Balancing the demands of her new job with caring for her son proved difficult and it soon became clear that the job was unsuitable. Still determined to become a secretary, Cheryl returned to her UK online centre where she received the encouragement and support to take more specialist qualifications.

After achieving the European Computers Driving Licence and a City and Guilds certificate in Administration, Cheryl’s confidence reached an all-time high. She applied for a job as a School Administrator and within weeks, was offered the opportunity she’d always dreamt of.

Cheryl says she now has her ideal job, and a work/life balance she never thought possible: ‘Working at the school means that I can drop my four-year-old son off at his school safe in the knowledge that when he finishes, I'll be there to pick him up. Things might have once looked bleak, but now I have the best of both worlds.’

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Why using computers could be important to you and your family?
All children now are taught to use Computers in the classroom from the age of five and the ability to use a computer is seen by Government and many employers as being a basic skill along side English and Maths.

As a parent using the Internet you can benefit from the huge growth in on-line services affecting all aspects of modern living. Many people enjoy hobbies over the Internet, or even socialise with people with the same interests.

Councils are putting all community services onto the Internet and one example of the success of these schemes is the Council Housing application scheme. Across Essex over 85% of applications are now made by people using the Internet.

Apart from being useful, using a Computer can be great fun and encourages lots of people to learn new skills using the many on-line courses now available at local venues very close to you.

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You don't have to own a computer to use one!
All central libraries and many of the smaller libraries now offer free use of the latest computer equipment, with access to the Internet and printing.
Contact your local and central library to find out what facilities you have near you.

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