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Cultivating Computing Skills

Our learners are a constant source of motivation and inspiration to the TANZ eCampus whānau, and current learner Michelle Mair is no exception.

It’s clear from the moment we begin chatting that Michelle is future-focused, passionate about what she does, loves helping others, and is always looking out for new learning opportunities.

But what inspired her to study towards a New Zealand Certificate in Computing with TANZ eCampus?

Firstly, Michelle loves getting involved with local clubs and committees, particularly in the world of horse and pony breeding and showing.  Over time, she found herself using computers more and more as part of this work.

“When I was at school, we didn’t use computers,” says Michelle. “I had to teach myself how to use one.”

While she was able to teach herself some key computer skills, Michelle realised that a qualification would provide valuable recognition of her skills. “At job interviews, I’d tell them that I could use computers, but I had nothing to back me up. I decided I needed to do something about it,” she says

Secondly, as a single mum juggling multiple jobs, Michelle wanted to open up new job opportunities and consider moving towards a full-time position. Learning online seemed like the best option, as it allowed her to create a study schedule that fit around her other professional and personal commitments.

Thirdly, a sudden change in her personal circumstances led Michelle to look to the future and ask herself a simple question: “What do I do next?”

So, in 2019, Michelle began her learning journey with TANZ eCampus, and she hasn’t looked back.

The New Zealand Certificate in Computing (Intermediate User Level 3) helps learners master a range of common digital tools and technologies, with areas of study including web fundamentals, presenting in a digital environment, spreadsheets and databases, and online etiquette and ethics.

As she moves through her courses, Michelle has loved building on her existing skills and adding new knowledge and tools to her toolkit. She has particularly enjoyed learning about how to extract information from databases, build websites and get the most out of programs like PowerPoint.

“The courses have helped me improve on what I knew, fine-tune my skills, and find easier ways to do tasks on the computer.”

While she admits that balancing study and her other commitments has been stressful at times, Michelle says getting into a routine really helped her to keep up with her work.

“The biggest thing is just making the time and getting into a routine. I usually study after dinner. If I have a weekend free, I really go for it.”

Michelle is open about the fact that she struggled sometimes in school, and she is thrilled with the results she has achieved with TANZ eCampus. She loves the feeling of success when she gets the marks she is aiming for, and the feedback and encouragement she has received from her course facilitators has been a source of motivation. “A big thank you to everyone who has helped!”

And what’s next for Michelle once she has finished her qualification? She has plenty of ideas and is willing to work hard to make them happen. She loves her new retail position at a local garden centre and is thinking about ways she can help adults learn to share her passion for gardening.

She’s also looking at other educational opportunities to help her in her work for her local clubs, and she is considering upskilling in marketing.

Asked what advice she would give to people who want to study but may lack the confidence or motivation to begin, Michelle says simply “Never stop learning!”

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