Ara plans for ICT growth for regional Canterbury

News News & events

20 Jul 2016

 Ara Institute of Canterbury is implementing plans to transform vocational training opportunities throughout regional Canterbury. Accessibility of learning is the key as new initiatives bring to life the new organisation's vision to improve access and extend the range of programmes and services available.

The organisation is responding to the changing needs of Canterbury's learners with a range of programmes that help people get started on the path of learning, right through to professional upskilling for career advancement.

 The nature of work is also changing and nowhere is this more evident than in the prevalence of technology in almost every area of our work and our lives. As a country and as a region we need to position ourselves to make the most of the opportunities that technology offers us. To do this we need to adopt an attitude of lifelong learning says Peter Nock, from the Computing Department at Ara.

 "Upskilling has become a necessity in today's professional environment. Everyone needs to know their way around a computer and some people need to acquire further skills for their particular job or to take the next step in their career," he said.

 ICT as an industry employs almost 100,000 people, or 5% of the workforce, in over 28,000 companies and created $32b in output in 2015 according to NZ Tech. It is also growing fast with 7% employment growth, but even with an average wage of $95,000, the sector suffers from a shortage of skilled workers and employers are looking to overseas to fill positions.


"So it's an exciting time to train for the computer industry and we are currently developing new programmes that incorporate new technologies and offer rich learning experiences for our students," Nock says. 

 To enable people to take the first step into the world of computing, upskill or prepare for higher level computing studies, Ara is introducing the suite of Computing for Free programmes at the Timaru campus on 25 July, with Asburton and Oamaru to follow soon.

 Through Computing for Free, Ara will connect a wide variety of learners in South Canterbury with accessible training for computer skills. The initiative is part of a wider plan to improve access to vocational training across the region, particularly reaching out to those who may not otherwise enrol in training, with more flexible learning delivery and innovative programmes aligned to industry expectations.

 Computing for Free offers a range of self-paced, non-assessed short courses for beginner to intermediate users in Microsoft Office, Web Design and Photoshop programs. Also offered is the industry recognised and relevant qualification, National Certificate in Computing Level 3.

 These programmes pathway to computing programmes currently offered in Timaru including the

New Zealand Certificate in Information Technology Essentials (Level 4) and the New Zealand Diploma in Information Technology Technical Support (Level 5), which are industry recognised and relevant to this fast paced sector.