Staff at the Home Office are being retrained to use the latest versions of Microsoft's products as part of a £350m upgrade to the government department's IT infrastructure.
The retraining, which began in August and will run until April 2005, will see 15,000 staff taught to use newer versions of Microsoft XP and Office.
Sirius - a consortium of Fujitsu, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Global Crossing - currently has a 10-year contract worth £350m to provide the Home Office with IT, and has subcontracted the retraining element to managed learning provider KnowledgePool under a 10-year contract.
"We are upgrading our IT systems to keep up to date with technology and to provide a platform for future Information Technology-enabled developments," said Chris Davison, Home Office IT training services manager.
KnowledgePool will retrain Home Office staff for its new end-user applications, providing specialist training through e-learning applications, two-hour classroom-style presentations and 'at-desk' trainers.
The company will also provide staff with A4 quick-reference guides, a telephone helpline and 15-minute training videos for anyone that misses specific elements.
The Home Office, which currently uses Microsoft Office 97 and Windows NT 4, said the new software would allow staff "to benefit from richer applications functionality and faster and more responsive hardware".
Staff will be retrained floor by floor and building by building in line with the rollout of the new software.
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