5 July 2002

PC skills shortage

FARMERS in Northumberland are still lacking computer skills, a study by land-based training organisation Lantra, has revealed.

Lantras north-east consultant Janice House, said almost all farmers in the region, who were asked about their training requirements, identified computer literacy as an area where they needed help.

"Many of the farmers said they had no knowledge of computers or at most only a very basic level of computer literacy," added Mrs House who said it was a concerning revelation.

"Farmers are being forced to adopt new technology. The emphasis on sending in government information electronically has increased the urgency."

"We suspect that this study is just the tip of the iceberg. It is fair to say there are very few farmers who would not benefit from training of some kind, particularly in computers," she said.

As a result of the study, Lantra has set up free training courses for farmers with Learndirect, a government organisation which allows people to train at home or at times which will fit in with their work hours.

Anyone interested in taking a course through Learndirect should telephone Lantras national helpline (08457-078007). If you would like to access group funding through the vocational training scheme, contact your regional DEFRA office or Janice House at Lantra north east England (0191-217 1014). &#42