Thomas King

Thomas Cook

A simple desire to become more confident using computers has opened up a world of possibilities for business owner Thomas King.

For the past 20 years, Thomas has been a co-director of a logistics business. Over that time he’s seen huge changes in the way business is conducted.

“The world is rapidly changing and to keep pace with it, having some confidence and competence in computing is crucial,” he says. “I realised that I’d have to embrace this scary but exciting new tech-driven world sooner or later, and now here I am today, loving what I once feared.”

Thomas took his first steps in computing at Ara Connect in New Brighton. It’s one of five Ara Connect hubs in Christchurch, each offering free, non-assessed computing courses for anyone wanting to gain skills and confidence using digital technology.

Thomas says the tutors at Ara Connect welcomed him warmly, made learning an enjoyable experience and were very supportive. “I felt so inspired during my journey and this is a reflection of the good folk that work at Ara. They’re very attentive and always eager to assist. They want you to succeed and they encourage you to push your boundaries without ever throwing you in the deep end.”

Discovering something new and amazing every time he got on a computer was one of the things Thomas enjoyed most about his time at Ara. “There are some amazing apps and software out there just waiting to be discovered. I’ve especially fallen in love with collaboration tools which can help me complete a host of project management tasks. What I learned was mindboggling and I realise now that we haven’t even really scratched the surface of these amazing tools and how useful they can be.”

Having now completed a New Zealand Certificate in Computing (Advanced User), Thomas is considering further study and possibly a complete career change. “I’m keeping my options open but a future in IT is becoming more likely for me with every passing day.”

His advice for anyone else considering the computing courses at Ara Connect is to just go for it. “You have the chance to add an invaluable credential to your CV, and the Level 3 and 4 certificates are a great way to prepare for further study in any subject. Knowing how to use computers in a way that delivers results can make life so much easier, especially in the world of business. I certainly wish I’d taken courses like these two decades ago. My advice is to pluck up the courage and just go for it.”