EDUCATION

2020 Communications Trust regional co-ordinator Briar Kopa. 2020 Communications Trust regional co-ordinator Briar Kopa. CREDIT: Hutt City Council

Free computer courses aim to lift Hutt skills

Tuesday 3 July 2012, 1:28PM
By Hutt City Council
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LOWER HUTT

Computer literacy in the Hutt is set to get a big boost as Hutt City Council and the 2020 Communications Trust prepare to launch free computer and internet training for adults.

Building a brighter future: 2020 Communications Trust regional co-ordinator Briar Kopa says Stepping UP teaches practical computer skills that can increase participants' confidence.

An eight-week pilot of the trust’s Stepping UP programme will start this month at three council libraries, with more than 140 places available for training.

Trust regional co-ordinator Briar Kopa says Stepping UP and its other main initiative, Computers in Homes, have both had a strong take-up in Wellington, and she is keen to extend that success into the Hutt Valley.

Briar says Computers in Homes offers training to parents via their children’s schools, whereas Stepping UP is open to anyone looking to build basic computer skills.

“Our courses teach how to use computers and the internet effectively – whether for a promotion, a new job, further education or as a means to help your children succeed at school.”

There are eight 90-minute modules dealing with word processing, spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, the internet, online trading, employment readiness, social media and digital design.

Three council libraries – at Naenae, Wainuiomata and Lower Hutt – will provide venues and computers for the pilot project, which begins on July 24, while the trust will provide tutors and training materials. If there is sufficient demand, the programme will be extended to other libraries.

Briar says Stepping UP has proved popular in Wellington with seniors, unemployed people, migrants and young mums who may have cut short their education, and she predicts the course will appeal to a similar audience in the Hutt.

Briar, formerly a tutor herself with the trust, says she enjoys mixing with all sorts of people and especially gets a big kick out of helping individuals develop the skills to take the next step up in their lives.

She says there is a widely held belief that most people have a basic level of computer literacy, but that is not so. She recalls one course participant, a woman in her 30s recently arrived in the country, who, when instructed to drag the mouse across to the start box and click on it, literally placed the mouse against the screen and ran it across the surface to the on-screen box.

“For me, that was the most compelling illustration of how, as trainers, we should never assume anything!”

To get more information, ring the library helpline on 570 6633 or go to library.huttcity.govt.nz. To book a place directly online, go to 2020.learningsource.co.nz