New survey shows rising awareness of ECDL computer skills programme

13 March 2003

Three quarters of British companies claim that employee time is being wasted due to inadequate computing skills, according to a new survey from BCS.

BCS conducted a survey to gauge awareness of its ECDL, European Computer Driving Licence, core IT skills qualification, which indicates a growing awareness amongst companies of the importance of employee IT training and qualification.

There has been an improvement in the number of employers who are aware of ECDL. When surveyed in 2001, almost 50% of employers were aware of the qualification but the latest survey shows this figure has increased to just over 60%, or three out of five employers. Overall awareness of ECDL amongst individual computer users had risen from 24% to 34%.

In particular, the survey results reflect the enormous growth that ECDL experienced since its launch in 1998 in the UK when it had 500 candidates across 50 test centres. Latest figures taken in March 2003, have shown that there are 550,000 candidates across 2300 test centres currently taking the internationally recognised qualification throughout the UK.

ECDL UK Director Pete Bayley is delighted at ECDL's success, "BCS is extremely encouraged by the results of this survey which show that awareness of ECDL is steadily growing. This confirms our belief that there are many companies that employ staff without adequate computer skills and that individuals are motivated to study ECDL in order to improve their own PC literacy."

Survey results also showed overwhelming satisfaction amongst companies which are currently offering ECDL to their staff. 80% said that ECDL is beneficial to the company and 77% said they are likely to recommended ECDL to others.

Of the individuals who expressed an interest in taking the ECDL, 48% cited the main reason would be to increase their knowledge and skills while 30% said it would be to help improve career or job prospects.

ECDL Advanced, the higher level programme, was launched during the course of 2002 and the survey gauged initial interest in this new offering with encouraging results. A significant proportion of the respondents whose companies currently provide ECDL training said they would be interested in also offering ECDL Advanced; 69% have said they were interested in a career progression qualification.

The survey was conducted on the behalf of BCS by MSS Research in December 2002. The survey sample consisted of 500 employers and 280 adult computer users, aged from 16 to 64.

For further information please contact the BCS Press Office.