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Jobseekers Gain New Computing Skills For Free At Ara Connect

Ara Institute of Canterbury is reaching the region's recently unemployed with the offer of free upgrades to their computing skills.

The 'Connect' community centres run by Ara offer people self-paced computing courses, with flexible options ranging from the fundamentals of computing for beginners through to courses designed to build on existing skills, or lead to formal qualifications for employment.

For Tarcille Roffey, formerly a member of Air New Zealand’s international cabin crew, the necessity of closed borders led to redundancy.

She says “Because of COVID-19, with so many planes grounded, the profits of the company plummeted, especially in the international sector, which is where I was, so now I’m looking for new employment.”

Tarcille quickly realised that up-to-date computer skills are an absolute necessity for the modern job-seeker. “Because so many people have lost their jobs, we're realizing that it's quite a competitive world out there, with lots of job seekers and not that many jobs. You have to make yourself as competitive as possible, and I honestly believe now that no matter what field you're gone into computer skills are going to be necessary.”

Tarcille appreciated being able to fit her learning in around her own busy timetable. Ara Connect courses let learners complete classes at their own pace and at their own discretion and Ara Connect centres are located in Christchurch as well as in Rangiora, Timaru and Oamaru and are open throughout the week, including evenings and Saturdays.

“It was good that (my learning) was self-paced, and you can use a physical book, so when you need to go back and find something you're not scrolling through a million pages onscreen, and you can get help from a real person if you need it.”

Tarcille says that she now feels more confident about her job search, and the range of options available to her.

“When I was looking at a job ad or saw anything about computer skills, I would just be going ‘that’s not for me’, as I had absolutely zero experience with computers. Now I do feel it has opened up a lot of possibilities.”

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