Speaking at the opening of the new learndirect centre at Coleg Sir Gar's Graig campus in Llanelli, the minister praised the lead the college had already taken in using ICT as a training tool via its existing, highly successful 'virtual college', before outlining the wider benefits of the government's learndirect scheme:
'Learndirect brings together over 80 per cent of the online learning opportunities across a wide range of subjects, enabling people to fit learning into their lives, wherever they have access to the internet - at home, at work or in one of over 50 centres across Wales.
'This is particularly important for people living in largely rural areas, such as Carmarthenshire, who might not have access to the same level of facilities that exist in more urban areas.'
The minister went on to describe how learndirect fits in with the Welsh assembly government's ICT strategy Cymru Ar-lein:
'The development of the Welsh economy depends on us having a skilled workforce capable of exploiting the potential of new technologies.
'Education and training providers, such as Coleg Sir Gar, have a key role in helping us deliver our vision of Wales as a knowledge-based economy. If people feel comfortable using ICT in their daily lives and have access to training and education to support them, their career prospects will improve, boosting business competitiveness overall.'
Learndirect is the largest e-learning project in Europe. The new centre at Coleg Sir Gar is the first in Carmarthenshire, and the college aims to get around 500 students to undertake courses through the scheme.