Net gains for businesses

More than half of all British companies using the Internet are convinced that it will radically change the way business is conducted over the next five years, according to an NOP survey. NOP found that 72 per cent of all business users are satisfied with the Internet as a communications medium, rising to 79 per cent when considering it as an information medium. Some 54 per cent of users feel that the Net has improved the efficiency of their companies. The survey found that about 2.2 million people working in businesses in Britain now have access to the Internet at work.

Apprentices sought

A London-based computer services supplier is planning to recruit 16-year- old school leavers this summer for a three-year computer maintenance apprenticeship programme. Response Computer Maintenance is launching the scheme because of the current shortage of skilled computer engineers. The apprentices will be given a mix of workshop training in component-level computer repair work and day-release college study for conventional ONC and HND qualifications. Response is also seeking to help define a new national vocational qualification in computer maintenance. For more information on the apprenticeship scheme, contact John Baker on 0181-965 3225.

WOW for Scotland

Scottish Enterprise has launched a Winners at the Web competition to recognise and reward companies that have achieved tangible business benefits through the use of Internet and intranet technologies. The competition will be split into six award classes, three for business achievement - business expansion, customer service and business change - and three demonstrating best practice - communications excellence, marketing excellence and design excellence. The competition is being sponsored by Air UK, Digital, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Telecom. The six winners will receive pounds 2,500 worth of Air UK flights and the overall winner will receive 12 months' routed ISDN connection from Scottish Telecom. The competition is open to all full-time businesses and organisations throughout Scotland in both the public and the private sectors. Deadline for entries is 1 August. For further information call 0800 515004 or check the WOW Web site (