A COMPANY which makes carpets for the Royal Family has contacted Bishop Auckland College to help increase its skills.

Durham-based Hugh Mackay Carpets has enlisted the help of Optimum, the services-to-business arm of the college.

Determined to secure its place as one of the region's most successful companies, staff at the factory have embarked on a rolling programme known as Computing for the Terrified.

Sharon Bateman, IT lecturer at Optimum, said: "Four groups have already completed the course and we have another group beginning this month. Level one involves basic introduction to computers, word processing, spread sheets and databases, all of which is completed over a 12 week period."

Measuring the interest of employees at the Langley Moor facility was important, so Julie Cook, human resources development advisor at Optimum, helped design a learning survey to identify training needs.

She said: "We circulated 237 questionnaires and more than three-quarters were returned. From the answers it was clear that IT was an area most staff were interested in."