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The British Computer Society (BCS) has introduced a skills course to help people overcome their fear of computers. According to BCS, nearly a third of the UK's population are being left on the sidelines because of a "genuine fear of attempting to use a computer".

The new BCS Equalskills course is "non-threatening in its format and structure" and can be accessed via adult education institutes and local training providers. Equalskills is described as the first step on the IT skills ladder, with students then encouraged to move on to the internationally recognised European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) IT qualification, also managed by the BCS in the UK.

Said ECDL UK director Pete Bayley: "A great misconception exists that most people are at least familiar with the rudiments of computing and are familiar with popular terms such as 'email' and the 'web'.

"But although IT literacy on the whole has increased dramatically in recent years…a serious gap has opened up between the computer literate and illiterate. Equalskills will, I believe, go a long way to help bridge this gap and enable computer novices to become fully involved in the information age." ®

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