Seniors become computer whizz kids

Publish Date : 25 Oct 2023
New Entrants For IT
New entrants' classes in Manurewa might have a slightly older than average age ... but that's no barrier to learning computer skills.

New entrant classes look a bit different in Manurewa, where the latest graduates even include a mother and daughter team.

But these willing learners aren’t lining up at the local primary, they’re answering the roll call at Manurewa Library as part of a computer class specifically for folk who have some life experience behind them.

Sixteen Senior Network members have just graduated in computer skills from a 20/20 Trust course funded by Manurewa Local Board.

Among that number, the oldest was a mother aged 91, still capable of driving the car to pick up the youngest for school – her 60-year-old daughter.

Board chair Glenn Murphy says age is no barrier to participation in learning or joining the digital age.

“These now IT savvy learners received Lifelong Learning Fund grants from the board, allowing them to take part in the programme – which already has a long list of successful graduates in the area."
IT savvy ... and they've got the certificate to prove it.

IT savvy ... and they've got the certificate to prove it.

20/20 Trust programme co-ordinator Jane Manu Autagavaia says the course couldn’t happen without the support of the library team, which provides an amazing amount of support while the learners make the journey into the digital world.            

Last year she witnessed a group of Pasifika mamas – and a papa –members of the Falelalaga Village group that keeps the Samoan weaving tradition alive, became computer whizz kids.

She says graduates should be proud of themselves. “They have all accepted the challenge of learning new skills and what they’ve done is magnificent.”

Manurewa-Papakura Councillor Daniel Newman says it takes courage to admit that you are being left behind and sing up to study in an area that is unfamiliar to you.

“Young people take computers for granted, but many older residents don’t have the skills they need. Being willing to go out and learn them connects them to the wider world and should inspire others to do the same.”

Only a few months before, a group made mostly of members of the Fijian community also passed the course, like all graduates, getting to keep the computer they learned on.

One graduate said the course was life-changing. “We just needed the chance to be in a space where everyone was learning at the same pace. That made it fun and removed any embarrassment.”

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