Internet speeds might be in for a big slowdown in Manurewa as Zoom traffic to Fiji booms in the wake of the latest 20/20 Trust computer skills course.
Funded by Manurewa Local Board, senior residents are taught basic computer skills that enable them to embrace the digital age, and for the latest graduates, that means re-connecting with friends and families, mostly in Fiji.
“Local board chair Glenn Murphy says it’s a mistake to assume everyone can fire up the computer and interact with the world.
“A lot of people lack the skills needed and don’t have computers in their homes.
“They just need the chance to learn and being able to do that in a space where everyone is learning at the same pace makes it fun and removes any embarrassment about not being computer literate.”
Graduates get to keep the Chromebook computers they learn on.
Board deputy chair Matt Winiata says older residents are perfectly capable of becoming keyboard wizards, and the connection that gives people shouldn’t be underestimated.
“It’s easy to say anyone can communicate with anyone via the internet today, but if you don’t have a computer, or you don’t know how to use one, that shuts you off from a whole world most of us can access.”
The courses are funded by the board using its Lifelong Learning Fund, which will open for applications in November, and are delivered by the 20/20 Trust.
Digital inclusion refers to learning programmes that provide access to the online world.
“So much of our lives are online these days,” Murphy says. “There are more and more services online, including the council's, so it’s important everyone is included. Being able to take part is important to making sure all people can do the things online that benefit them from day to day."
Manurewa-Papakura Councillor Daniel Newman says the board’s partnership with 20/20 is highly-valued.
“Our learners gain new skills, have doors opened for them, learn to easily access the services and products they need, and actually have their lives changed.”