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Tenants get lessons in IT and savings


Published by Anonymous for in Education and also in Communities, Housing

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A Coventry housing association is giving its tenants lessons in IT and how to save and manage their money.

Whitefriars Housing has teamed up with Henley College to create a course that can help households make savings of around £560 per year from shopping and paying bills online, while increasing their income potential.

With the help of Coventry-based exam board OCR, the course educates people on how to use the internet, while using course materials that teach them about things such as how the Goverment's welfare reforms will affect them, how to access public services and where to find other useful information.

And those that complete the IT course, which is the first step on the ladder of IT skills, will have their achievement recognised by OCR.

It is the first time that a housing association has worked with a college to put together a course which is tailored for its residents.

The course is free for people claiming benefits or tax credits and is available at seven locations across Coventry. It is available to anyone in the city, not just tenants of Whitefriars.

The training comes on the back of information from Go On UK which revealed that 16m people in the UK aged 15 and over do not have basic online skills, yet 90 percent of jobs will require ICT skills by 2015.

Darren Wood, communications manager at Whitefriars Housing, said: “There are various courses to teach people how to get online, but as far as we’re aware, this is the first time that a housing association has helped to devise a course which is specifically relevant for local people.

“It’s vital that everyone who can knows how to use the internet to be able to do everything from receiving their benefits to paying their bills, because it’s getting ever harder to be able to do it any other way. And of course if you can’t use the internet, you can’t apply for many jobs, which are frequently only displayed online, or have access to the cheapest fuel tariffs or insurance quotes, which again are often only available on the internet.

Annette Hartopp, 23, from Bell Green, who is currently unemployed, is one of the first students on the course. She said: “The course has been fantastic. I would like to have a job in retail, and I’ve learnt how use emails and attach documents, so now I can apply for jobs and send my CV and covering letter.

“Now that I’ve nearly finished this course, I may take some more, because I know that completing this one makes me eligible for others, and I’d like to gain as many skills as I can so that I become a valuable employee.”

Ray Goy, principle at Henley College, said: “Henley College is a community college and we specialise in partnership arrangements to get the best and most innovative opportunities for our students. This course, which we have devised with Whitefriars, is an excellent example of how we’ve worked with another organisation to create opportunities for local people to gain valuable life skills.”


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