British government targets employment Web site at the IT illiterate

Summary:The U.K. government has launched a national jobs and learning Web site to helpbridge the "digital divide" between professionals who are IT literate, and theunemployed who have never accessed the Internet before.

The U.K. Government has launched a national jobs and learning Web site to help bridge the "digital divide" between professionals who are IT literate, and the unemployed who have never accessed the Internet before.

The site was announced on Thursday by education and employment secretary David Blunkett, who said it will give "instant online access to 800,000 job and training opportunities across Britain". The government has described worktrain.gov.uk as the most advanced of its kind in the world.

The site promises to offer jobseekers information about jobs, careers and learning opportunities. "It is designed to be easy to use, even for those who haven't used the Internet before. It shows how joining up government services using ICT (information and communications technology) can deliver real value to the citizen," said Blunkett in a statement.

Worktrain was jointly developed by the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) and the Employment Service. It is accessible at any time of day to anyone who has Internet access.

A recent DfEE survey found that 68 percent of professionals have used the Internet compared with 22 percent of semi-skilled and unskilled workers. The site has been launched as part of the government's U.K. Online initiative, which plans to offer universal access to the Internet as well as placing all Government services on the Net.

The launch of worktrain.org.uk coincides with the official opening of 1,200 U.K. Internet centers, granting public access to online government services.

Topics: Government, IT Employment

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