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Getting a Job

Lack of computer know-how is holding young jobseekers back


Poor computer skills could be hampering young people's career chances, a charity warned today.

Around one in eight say that they do not believe their computer skills are good enough for the job they want to do, according to a poll by the Prince's Trust.

And this rises to almost one in five (18 per cent) for young people who are "Neet" - not in education, employment or training.

The poll asked more than 1,300 British 15 to 25-year-olds - including 265 Neets - about their computer skills.

It found that around one in six (17 per cent) Neets said they believed they would be in work if they could use a computer better, and about one in four (24 per cent) said they dreaded filling in online job application forms.

More than one in 10 (11 per cent) of the Neets questioned said they avoid using computers and a similar proportion (10 per cent) said they are embarrassed by their lack of computer skills.

The survey was published to mark the launch of a new Prince's Trust scheme designed to engage schoolchildren with science and technology.

Under the initiative, staff from the Science Museum will visit Prince's Trust clubs in schools to work with young people who are at risk of exclusion or under-achieving.

The scheme follows a £500,000 donation to the Trust last year by musician will.i.am.

Will.i.am said: "Inspiring young people through science and technology is a powerful tool and I am proud to see my donation to the Prince's Trust being put into action to help engage disadvantaged youth who would not otherwise have access to technology and science education.

"These workshops are an amazing way to engage disadvantaged youngsters who don't have this sort of access to technology and science otherwise."

Prince's Trust chief executive Martina Milburn said: "A lack of computer literacy can hold young people back and this is damaging their job prospects. Without basic computer skills, young people will not be able to pursue career paths and passions because they can't get a foot in the door.

"With youth unemployment on the rise again, we need to arm our young people with the skills they need in today's tough jobs market. Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills are a crucial part of this."

The poll questioned 1,378 15 to 25-year-olds between January 18 and February 15.