Microsoft hands Sunderland council £10 million in IT training

Sunderland City Council is offering free IT training vouchers for the poor souls living or working in the Sunderland area.

The City Council won a national competition hosted by Microsoft UK called Britain Works Challenge that was aimed at finding the local authority that showed the most use of technology to help address unemployment, with a reward of £10 million worth of Microsoft IT training vouchers. 

Sunderland won the competition by creating Job Linkage and Job Centre Plus in partnership with the Local Strategic Partnership, Sunderland Software City, Sunderland University, City of Sunderland College, and Unison.

It was about time Sunderland upgraded from its one computer, the 386 that has been sitting in the town hall since it first raised enough money for a computer in 2008.

The idea is that a huge ton of jobs require intermediate IT skills. Most young people nowadays already have decent computer skills, in that they know how to download J-Kwon from Limewire and bully their classmates on Facebook, even if they lack accreditation for them. We’re sure the £millions worth of vouchers will be put to some good use, though we can see many may not be required for young’ns for years to come. There are ICT facilities in schools that need updating and we can’t help but feel that perhaps that would have been a worthier prize. That said, ICT is widely accepted as a doss lesson.

The training scheme is called SMILE, the Sunderland Microsoft IT Learning and Employment Programme, and is open to anyone within Sunderland. Councillor Allan said that the focus is on helping people get employment through developing their IT skills, but the programme is available for everyone of all ages who wants to learn about computers. People can sign up by logging onto www.sunderland.gov.uk/smile.