In both post-compulsory education and training there is a growing need for every student, teacher and employee to have at least a basic level of computer competence. It is therefore necessary to consider the needs of the ‘computer shy’, i.e. those individuals who have up until now avoided coming into contact with computers and are reluctant to take part in computer training. This article begins by examining the psychological, sociological and operational origins of an individual’s computer reticence and anxiety, and also explores the theoretical factors behind computer acceptance and use. From this basis a series of practical recommendations are made for successful teaching of information technology skills to reluctant computer users.