Ireland’s Defence Forces have launched an ECDL e-learning programme to ensure that members at home and abroad are equipped with basic computer skills.
The first batch of soldiers to achieve their ECDL certificate were presented with them last week.
The European Computer Driving License (ECDL) is the world’s most successful IT skills certification programme and so far almost 12m people have undertaken it in more than 146 countries worldwide.
A survey carried out by ICS Skills recently showed that 42pc of people studying ECDL now fall into the 30-50 age bracket as more and more people are seeking to upskill and retrain.
For the Defence Forces investment in ECDL ensures it is in a strong position to maximise return on investment by conducting not only face-to-face and e-learning courses but also the provision of ECDL training, using CD-ROMs, to those serving overseas in South Lebanon.
Some 65 members of the Irish peacekeeping contingent are undertaking the course and they will be tested on their return in the coming months.
At the recent 15th National IT Training Conference, the Defence Forces won a Best Practice Award for ECDL.
The importance of computer literacy
“Computer literacy is an extraordinarily important issue in our society and ECDL is a way to ensure that people get access to basic training," said Jim Friars, chief executive of ICS Skills.
“For instance, spreadsheets, word processing, presentation, use of the internet for business purposes, setting up a database, none of these is within the skill sets of the average person who hasn’t been trained, yet now they’re basic life skills for anyone embarking on a career pretty much in any field.
“That’s why it’s fantastic to see the Defence Forces are ensuring that their members at home and abroad are equipped with these important skills and helping to ensure digital literacy for all in Ireland," Friars said.
Photo, left to right: Sgt Padraig Ging (ECDL co-ordinator), Col Michael Meehan, Mary Cleary, Pte Melissa Martin, chief executive of ICS Skills Jim Friars, Cpl Jonathan Santa Maria, Sgt Will Fitzgerald (project manager), Sgt Sinead Wearen, Maj Gen Ralph James (Deputy Chief of Staff Operations), Lt Colonel Anthony Barcken, and Col John Tolan