Norway gives e-learning to all

Private-sector companies in Norway are expected to see a drastic reduction in training costs as a result of a nationwide on-line learning service.

Employers and unions have joined together to fund the unique adult learning service designed to improve the skills of the entire Norwegian workforce.

The competence network, launched last week, will act as a distribution point for thousands of on-line courses to develop new skills in the workforce as the oil reserves, which the economy has relied on, dry up.

The intention is that every member of the Norwegian workforce – 1.2 million people – will have access to the service through their workplaces. Employers expect it to drastically cut their training costs.

Employees will be able to take off-the-shelf courses in health and safety, computer skills, business skills or languages and courses tailored to the needs of specific industries and even companies.

Half the £1.5m needed to develop the project was provided by the equivalents of the CBI and TUC, the rest was raised from research councils and development funds.

Employers will pay for the service as they use it.

The system was designed by American company Saba, whose customers include Cisco Systems and Ford.

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