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Air Force Communications Agency Signs Four-Year Purchase Agreement with SkillSoft For IT e-Learning

IT Skills and Certification Training Now Live and Available To U.S. Air Force Personnel Worldwide

NASHUA, N.H., Dec. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SkillSoft PLC (Nasdaq: SKIL), a leading provider of e-learning courseware and referenceware for business and IT professionals, and the Air Force Communications Agency (AFCA) today announced a four-year purchase agreement that will give U.S. Air Force military and civilian personnel worldwide access to 1,200 IT courses, which will be accessed, tracked, and managed through SkillSoft's hosted learning management platform. The first of four planned annual work orders was issued by the AFCA on November 7, 2002.

The SkillSoft e-learning offering, launched on November 7, 2002, will support the Air Force Computer-Based Training Program (AFCBT), which provides Air Force personnel with interactive, multimedia, self-paced CBT information technology courseware to meet critical Air Force technology training requirements. Under the agreement, all U.S. Air Force personnel worldwide will have unlimited access to the 1,200 courses and mentoring services covering technology areas such as software development, operating systems, server technologies, internet and network technologies, database systems, and desktop computer skills. The SkillSoft e-learning content also supports more than 40 industry certification programs such as A+, Network+, Cisco Certified Network Associate, and Microsoft Certified System Engineer.

The SkillSoft contract also includes 24x7 online mentoring that provides real-time performance support by connecting learners with vendor-certified experts who can assist them in mastering course materials. SkillSoft has subcontracted with EDS to provide ongoing project management, system administration, and quality assurance support.

"The objective of this contract is to provide Air Force personnel with the most effective information technology learning experience possible," said Markus Rogers, chief of the Training Management Branch for the AFCA. "Services such as round-the-clock online mentoring will enhance the skill development of our personnel and help improve their mission readiness."

"The selection process for this contract was one of the most rigorous we've ever experienced," said Chuck Moran, president and CEO of SkillSoft. "The U.S. Air Force has been a long-standing leader in providing technical, state-of-the-art training to personnel working all over the globe. We are honored to be selected for this important USAF learning initiative."

About SkillSoft

SkillSoft is a leading provider of e-learning courseware and referenceware for business and IT professionals. SkillSoft products and services are designed to accelerate the ability of today's workforce to master the business and technology skills required for competitive success. The company currently has more than 2,800 corporate customers worldwide and more than 4.5 million licensed users.

SkillSoft focuses on meeting the comprehensive business skills and information technology learning needs of professionals in Global 5000 organizations through a comprehensive range of content-focused, e-learning solutions, including:

  • Business Skills Library: More than 1,600 courseware and simulation titles encompassing professional effectiveness, management/leadership, project management, sales & customer-facing skills, business strategy/operations, finance, human resources, safety/health and financial services industry. Courses feature strong visual design; a focus on instructional objectives at the application and analysis levels; learner interactivity and reinforcement through RolePlays, SkillSimulations, and case studies; and pre- and post-course assessments with prescriptive learning capabilities.

  • IT Skills and Certification Library: More than 2,800 course titles encompassing software development, operating systems and server technologies, Internet and network technologies, enterprise database systems, web design, and desktop computer skills. The IT library also supports more than 40 certification programs.

  • ITPro and Business Pro Referenceware: More than 2,500 unabridged IT and business books and reports are available to online subscribers through SkillSoft's subsidiary, Books24x7. A unique, patent-pending search engine gives subscribers the ability to perform multi-level searches.

SkillSoft customers include organizations such as: First Union, Clarica (Canada), Fluor Corporation, Verizon, U.S. Army, Deloitte Consulting, Raytheon, IBM, Internal Revenue Service, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Army National Guard, Dell Computers, Qwest, Department of Transportation, NEC America, British Telecom and Wells Fargo.

SkillSoft, SkillPort, RolePlay, Search-and-Learn, e-Learning for the Knowledge Economy, NetUniversity, and Accelerated Path are trademarks and/or servicemarks of SkillSoft Corporation. Books24x7.com and Referenceware are servicemarks of Books24x7, Inc. All brand names, trademarks, or registered trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

Safe Harbor: This release includes information that constitutes forward- looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any such forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results encompassed within the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include difficulties in integrating the organizations of SmartForce and SkillSoft, competitive pressures, changes in customer demands or industry standards, adverse economic conditions, loss of key personnel, litigation and other matters disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the SkillSoft's most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and its proxy statement/prospectus dated August 5, 2002, each as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking information provided in this press release represents the company's estimates as of December 2002. We anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause the company's estimates to change. However, while the company may elect to update this forward-looking financial information at some point in the future, the company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. This forward-looking information should not be relied upon as representing the company's estimates of its future financial performance as of any date subsequent to the date of this release.

SOURCE SkillSoft PLC

CONTACT: Linda Galloway of Apollo Associates, +1-203-790-1591; or Dennis Brown of SkillSoft, +1-630-707-9024, dbrown@skillsoft.com