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Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 09:32 GMT
Farmers learn bar room computer skills
farmers at computer lessons
College computer classes have been brought to the students
A village pub in west Wales is doubling up as a classroom for farmers to learn new computer skills.

Just like in the Radio Four drama series, The Archers - where The Bull has its very own cyber cafe - farmers in Pembrokeshire are being given the chance to pick up IT skills along with their pints.

One night each week, the Lobster Pot Inn in the village of Marloes is the place agricultural workers who want to learn to use computers to help run their businesses can go for classes.

Turning up with 10 laptops and setting up in the middle of the bar is one of the rarer experiences at the college

Teacher Paul Robinson

Attending Pembrokeshire College for computer classes would mean a 30-mile round trip to Haverfordwest, so instead, thanks to an Elwa initiative, the classes come to them.

Landlord Rob Evans said: "When it first started, it was a bit strange but we've got used to it.

"When (customers) first come in, they ask a few questions, but once we've explained to them what's going on they leave them to it."

Tutor Paul Robinson said the unconventional arrangement was working well.

"It's strange," he said. "But it's very nice to come out into the community and bring teaching to rural areas.

The Lobster Pot Inn
The Lobster Pot Inn plays host to the classes

"Turning up with 10 laptops and setting up in the middle of the bar is one of the rarer experiences at the college."

The classes are designed to help farmers use computers to run their businesses.

Steve Ford, one of the farmers to take advantage of the weekly lessons, said mastering IT skills was a priority.

"The computer is becoming more important on the farm," he said.

"Everybody is frightened of computers, so I'd like to get to know how to use them to make the business more efficient."

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BBC Wales' Colette Hume
"More courses like this could be on the way"

More from south west Wales
See also:

01 Nov 99 | Wales
14 Mar 00 | Wales
11 Feb 03 | Wales
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