Apple is organising free Internet workshops for parents and schoolchildren. This is after a study run by the company showed that 85 per cent of parents knew little or nothing about the World Wide Web, and that two out of three parents found the Internet "a mystery". However, Wendy Kerr, consumer marketing manager at Apple, said: "Despite their lack of knowledge, most parents said they were interested in the Internet's educational potential."
Apple is organising the workshops and recruiting resellers to run them. According to Kerr: "The workshops present a good opportunity for resellers, as more than half the parents surveyed didn't know how to go about connecting their home to the Internet."
Computers Now, a Victoria-based reseller, confirmed this. "We've picked up a lot of customers," said Joanna Mansell, training co-ordinator for the company. Mansell said that what is needed in order to run a workshop is product knowledge and people skills. "You have to be able to assess what level people are at," she said. Because she often had parents with varying knowledge levels, her advice is "try to keep it general". Mansell said she was enjoying her involvement in the Internet workshops.
Terry Bradley, retail sales consultant for Choice Connections in Brisbane, had a more tentative response. "We've done one workshop, and despite a lot of initial phone calls, only two people turned up. One was a gentleman just about to turn 80," he said. Would he do it again? "I am doing it again," Bradley said, although he admitted that the workshops are "not really worth our while". According to Bradley the best thing about the workshops is the fact that Computer Connections hands out the brochures to attendees. "We've got all the information in one package, up to date, for customers," he said.
Similarly, Cheryl Anne of Computer Spectrum in Woolongong said that she couldn't tell yet if the workshops would "be good for us". Anne, who is in education sales, said she had only run one workshop, but had dates lined up for the week of March 11. Of her first workshop she said the company did not make any sales. "Most people who were there already had machines. They wanted information."
Sue Sara, corporate affairs manager of Apple, said that resellers are encouraged to phone and find out where their local workshops are, so as to be involved in their running.
Apple MD, Steve Vamos, talked about the workshops at the opening of the Apple Internet Café at PC96. He said Apple was happy with the response it had received, and considered the workshops successful.
Pene Slade, Apple's events manager, said she was very pleased with PC96 this year. "People seemed a lot more qualified than they were in the past - more genuinely interested in finding out information and in buying," she said.
Tel: 1800 025 355