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    After a period of development spanning some eighteen months, the UK's leading supplier of office and IT skills training, Pitman Training, is set to unveil seven self-study courses to teach Microsoft Office 2003.

    The new range will help its students enter the jobs market with the very latest qualifications, while allowing those already in employment to update their skills and keep their CV's on a competitive footing with the competition.

    The Courses

    The new range of courses will enable the student to gain up "“ to "“ date training in the use of programmes such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook. It will also allow them to gain a nationally recognised Level 2 qualification through Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) by taking Microsoft Office Specialist tests.

    One such test is known as the OCR CLAiT PLUS 2006, a qualification accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). It benefits the student by expanding their knowledge and understanding of IT, whether in employment, education or training and is eligible for government funding.

    The Student's Point of View

    To see the importance of this work by Pitman Training, one only needs to look as far as the students. On such, Joanna Good, a student at Pitman Training Centre, Stevenage, knows only too well the importance of keeping her skills up to date. She left school at 16 with no qualifications, and quickly realised that finding a job without any formal skills or training is difficult at the best of times. "I drifted aimlessly from job to job "“ career satisfaction just didn"t come into it," she said.

    Being 20 years of age, Joanna studied towards a handful of GCSE's but, without any actual experience, a job that would eventually lead to a career remained difficult to come by. Last year, she decided to contact her local Pitman Training centre, albeit with some trepidation. "I was so nervous to begin with," she said. "I knew I wanted to pursue a secretarial career, but thankfully the staff at the centre were able to help diagnose exactly which courses I ought to be studying. Working through the course at my own pace made gaining new skills so much more enjoyable and convenient."

    Soon after completing her Executive PA course, she managed to find her ideal position as a secretary working for Accord, part of the Jarvis group. But, as she says, training never ends, and education and learning are a continuous learning curve. "Having struggled for years without any qualifications, I can"t stress enough how important it is that people keep learning new things," she enthused. "While I may now have found a job I enjoy, I know I cannot be complacent. There are always new things to learn and ways to be more efficient. I"ll keep learning new skills as I know that if I don"t, there"ll always be other people better equipped to do my job than me, and that's not something I"m prepared to let happen."

    For more information on the new range of Microsoft Office 2003 courses offered by Pitman Training, or to find out how your skills could be developed through any of Pitman Training's office and IT courses, please call 0800 220454 or alternatively click here.

    Jethro Marsh

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