A new UCOL course in Dannevirke is a first and an exciting venture, organisers say.
"We've been working on how we can upskill people in the town for more than a year and this is an exciting opportunity," Gloria Evans, external relations co-ordinator for Palmerston North's UCOL, said. "We've had a huge number of enquiries in the past for training support in rural areas, particularly in Dannevirke and Pahiatua and being able to work with Tararua REAP here in Dannevirke is wonderful.
"This is a huge thing for Dannevirke and I'm excited about the long-term prospects.
"There have previously been barriers to tertiary learning because of the cost and the lack of transport between Dannevirke and Palmerston North, but this course is free and that's a big bonus. But although the course is free, people need to understand there is a commitment required from them."
The first course in Dannevirke will be a National Certificate in Computing Level 2.
"This is something we have been working on for a long time," said Marianne Gemmell adult and community education co-ordinator for Tararua REAP.
"We believe it's an awesome opportunity.
"Having training opportunities available for young people over 16 and adults, so they can start on a pathway to further learning, or increase their skills to become work ready and to help them re-enter the workforce, is one of the key drivers for our community."
"The classes will be run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 10am and 1pm, for the rest of the year and will suit learners with children at school, young people who have left school and many others.
"This is something our mayor, Roly Ellis, is very passionate about, too."
Students will have supervisor assistance, but won't be taught by a UCOL lecturer, Ms Evans said.
"As well as their class time, they will also work from home and will be supported by email and phone by UCOL staff," she said.
"The face-to-face supervision is a great way for students to feel connected to UCOL and their learning process.
"This course is ideal for people who want to upskill and get back in the job market and it's about supporting people to get a very important certificate for their future."
As well as remote learning, Ms Evans said students will still have the opportunity to visit UCOL's Palmerston North campus and meet staff.
"If this course works then it'll open the doors to other learning opportunities," Ms Evans said.
Want to find out more?
Today at the Tararua REAP rooms, 15 Gordon St, between 10 and 11.30am.
Join the team for coffee, tea and biscuits and learn how you can earn a Level 2 computing certificate free.
Find out how you can study, with support, and gain an accredited qualification with skills for today's job market.