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Five reasons companies want their apprentices to touch type

Five reasons companies want their #apprentices to touch type

Nearly every young person uses technology these days so when we started selling our touch typing program we did wonder if there would be a market for what we were offering.

After all, if young people can produce fast accurate text using two fingers why would companies bother with touch typing training? Besides, now with voice recognition, surely it would just be a matter of time before offices and call centres were entirely reliant on voice to text?

We were wrong.  

Employers, especially those offering more skilled apprenticeships, are now promoting touch typing and this is why:

  1. Voice to text has its limitations. You need good wi-fi and a quiet environment for reasonable results which is why many companies do not use it. There are also confidentiality issues.
  2. Touch typing is faster. Research by Pitman Training shows that people who type with two fingers average between 27 and 37 words a minute while someone trained to touch type can reach between 50 and 70 words a minute.
  3. Two finger typing is associated with RSI. The TUC claim that 375,000 people in the UK suffer from some kind of musculoskeletal disorder in their upper body that has been worsened by their working conditions: ‘One of the causes of RSI is the large number of two-fingered typists who use computers for a considerable part of the working day without any proper keyboard training. The extra force and position of the hands when employees type using only two fingers makes the degree of strain worse.’
  4. Touch typing improves performance. It is a skill that frees up the brain to focus on content and spelling, so touch typists are faster and produce more accurate work.
  5. Skilled workers have a wider choice of careers. Touch typing is often listed as an essential requirement for captioning, court reporting, legal and medical records and some fields of journalism. It is frequently listed as a ‘desirable quality’ for web designers, programmers, and most jobs requiring a speed of 60 wpm or more now specify touch typing skills.

Benefits for companies and apprentices

Angie D’Andrea is Director of Support Services at TC Young, a large well-established firm of solicitors in Glasgow that employs paralegals, school leavers, secretaries, trainees and lawyers. The company could not find enough young people who could type accurately at high speeds, so they launched their own apprenticeship.

All the apprentices are told that touch typing is essential. They complete the basic course – which takes just 90 minutes to cover the basic letter keys – and then work on building their skills. They have a speed test module once a week to check if they are progressing satisfactorily.

‘Many of the young people need to unlearn bad habits before they can get going,’ said Angie.

‘We explain to them that we don’t expect them to be fast to start with, but we do expect them to put some effort into touch typing.’

The company benefits from increased productivity and more accurate work and the apprentices learn new marketable skills that improve their future job prospects.

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