The Royal Mail has delivered 22,000 home PCs to postal workers as part of a joint initiative with e-learning specialist Futuremedia.
The 'Learning for All' scheme takes advantage of tax breaks provided under the government's Home Computing Initiative (HCI), which seeks to encourage IT literacy among UK citizens.
Futuremedia supplies Royal Mail employees signing up for Learning for All with a fully installed and supported internet-ready PC for as little as £4.40 a week.
Although there is no formal requirement upon staff to use their PC for skills training, Royal Mail workers and their families have access to a pool of e-learning courses, including the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), via Futuremedia's learning management system.
"We deliver a huge range of content - everything from French and German to how to hold the perfect barbecue, plus everything in between," said Stuart Pembery, Futuremedia's programme development director.
Around 70 per cent of those joining the scheme have never used a computer before, and for many English is a second language.
"The Royal Mail has all the problems you'd expect a multicultural employer to have, including profound issues with basic numeracy and literacy," said Pembery.
"Learning for All is encouraging staff and their families to engage with learning, and playing with computers has raised standards within the workforce generally.
"School and education are dirty words for many people. This scheme is designed to introduce the benefits of learning in a gentle, family-friendly way."
The first phase of Learning for All was launched in November last year, and around 16,500 of the Royal Mail's 200,000-strong workforce joined the programme. Phase two, completed this summer, saw a further 5,500 people sign up. It is the UK's largest HCI scheme.
Royal Mail's people and organisational director, Tony McCarthy, said in a statement: "Making Royal Mail a great place to work is one of the key elements of our plans for business renewal.
"This scheme is a great way of showing commitment to our people and rewarding them for their loyalty."
The Royal Mail runs a separate, work-related e-learning programme that can also be accessed from these PCs.
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