Generation X and Baby Boomers are flocking to upskill in computing and business administration, with extra classes being put on to meet the demand.
Vision College’s National Certificate in Business Administration and Computing (NCBAC) was introduced 12 months ago, targeting people aged 40 plus who wanted to learn about running a modern office and how to use programmes such as Microsoft Excel, Word and Publisher.
To date 397 people have enrolled in the 20-week programme, which is offered at Vision College campuses in Hamilton, Christchurch, East Tamaki and Pukekohe.
Hamilton makes up around half of those, with 193 people enrolled.
“We initially introduced just two intakes, but had to increase that to eight due to demand,” said tutor Matthew Bartley, who has been teaching the course since its inception 12 months ago.
“We get a lot of good feedback from students – they find the course engaging and, with our support, become more confident in using computers.”
The course is designed to teach students about modern office applications including Microsoft Word, Excel and Publisher (2016 versions), as well as the basics of Facebook marketing and other online applications.
The course is free and government funded for those between 18 and 65, and involves self-paced learning – which means students work through 14 booklets (unit standards) at home with the support of their Vision College tutor. They can also attend ‘drop-in’ tutorials weekdays for extra one-on-one support.
Hamilton mother of two, Kay Ankersmit, 45, started the certificate in April, looking to enhance her computer knowledge. The event planner wanted to upskill and prepare for her next career move. “I was really interested to learn more about Microsoft Publisher and some of the more advanced Excel functions,” said Ankersmit. “When I was at school, computers were not the focus of our learning so everything has been either self-taught or picked up within the work environment.”
She enjoyed the course, and said it wasn’t intimidating or difficult. “It started off really easy and got more complicated as we worked through the modules, building on the skills you learned in previous assignments. By the time we got to the more technically difficult assignments you felt really confident because you had built up a good knowledge.”
Ankersmit said her tutor Matthew Bartley “was fantastic” and supportive. “He was always willing to help, and was always on hand if we couldn’t understand something and needed assistance.”
“I enjoyed the Excel modules in particular because it gave me a deeper understanding of formulas and what they can do, and the more advanced things you can do in Excel. I had never really used Publisher at all, so I now have a good understanding of that.”
“The course really provides you with the computer skills and the confidence that would make you a real asset to any business and their office environment.”
She liked the flexibility of the programme, which she could do at home at her pace. “I’ve got two children, age 12 and 13, so it’s something I could do at home and fit around my kids.”