Computer skills are very important in everyday life. However when starting and running a business they are one of the major factors in enabling growth and also reducing costs through automation and online communications.
These skills are very diverse from spreadsheet analysis of the cash flow to creating a viral marketing campaign via facebook. The start up or self employed person has the greatest challenge as money and labour costs are too high to use outside help. So the successful start-up is one which has mastered their computer skills needs.
The truly hard part is where to develop these skills, as schools lack application, teaching skills and issues with responsibility in teaching student to promote themselves on the web. So the task comes to Colleges and Universities to ensure that these diverse, yet important skills are developed.
When we look at people who would start a business then vocational courses are those, which will lead into self employment. The self employed have the greatest need for computer skills, as there is only one person to do it and also the product or service is more personalized.
Students at grade 11 (general education) have a rather high mean score (2.93) in their confidence to use the internet responsibly, while this mean score decreases somewhat at grade 11 (vocational education). (http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/digital-agenda/scoreboard/docs/2012/scoreboard_digital_skills.pdf)
So how do we get vocational students to develop useable enterprise computer skills?