The success of a pilot computer course in Levin will see pressure put on government providers for it to continue.

Horowhenua Learning Centre chief executive Patrick Rennell said the new Digital Literacy course, which gave people a basic introduction to the world of computers, was so successful he hoped it would continue.

Rennell said initially there were spaces for 30 people, but demand saw that number balloon to 80 students, who this week celebrated with a graduation ceremony in Levin.

"We are victims of our own success. Many students have found employment already and couldn't make it to the ceremony," he said.


"We started with funding for 30 students in April. We then had to request funding for a further 50 ... we will look to the Tertiary Education Commission for their continued support, looking at the success of what has happened.

"There is a massive demand from people who want to be brought into the digital age."

HLC worked with community partners such as Whanau Ora with referrals, while other students enrolled from all districts within the Horowhenua region.

The course was not just for job seekers. Also learning were senior members of the community wanting to gain computer confidence and parents wanting to match their children's knowledge of the online world.

Deborah Thomas.
Deborah Thomas.

Levin mother-of-three Deborah Thomas said she enrolled in the course to gain confidence with computers for herself, but also so she could engage with her children in that space and educate them.

"Basically because my computer skills were minimal. You need to know what is going on," she said.

"It also makes you look at the things you enjoy doing and goal-setting. It opens doors ..."

Harvey Sullivan had moved back to Levin after living in Australia for many years and enrolled in the course after being told about it by a friend.

Harvey Sullivan.
Harvey Sullivan.

"Some people don't know how to turn a computer on. I knew some of it but it was good to have it explained and simplified," he said.

Rennell said he was proud to allow some graduates to keep their computers at the end of the course, along with a subsidised internet access. Some were from low-income backgrounds without access to computers.

The course enabled people to engage in a world that demanded a knowledge of computers so basic functions could be carried out safely, and tasks like creating a CV and applying for a job could be done online.

Councillor Victoria Kaye-Simmons, who chairs the Horowhenua District Council well-being committee, presented graduates with certificates at the ceremony.