Tararua learning scales new heights
The computers are ready and the class roll is growing as Tararua turns its hand to hosting new tertiary education courses.
For the first time, UCOL is teaming up with Dannevirke-based learning provider Tararua REAP - rural education activities programme - to bring higher-level learning opportunities to town.
Tararua REAP adult and community education co-ordinator Marianne Gemmell said plans had been in the pipeline for almost a year, and courses were set to start next week.
"It's taken a wee while . . . but it has all come to fruition nicely."
There had always been interest in further-education opportunities in Dannevirke but things such as the cost, time spent on travel and limited transport options between Tararua and UCOL's main hub, in Palmerston North, had put people off, Mrs Gemmell said.
"We're a rural community who have a lot of barriers inhibiting learners from tertiary education." So they thought about how they could make it work and "just got on with it".
Plans are to teach skills that easily translate to the workplace, with courses being a mix of hands-on practical skills and book smarts.
Dannevirke's first course, which starts on Tuesday, is a National Certificate in Computing Level 2, with plans for more courses to follow down the track.
"Now we've done a little bit of the groundwork and all the hard work, it should be easier to get more courses going," Mrs Gemmell said.
UCOL associate head of school business and computing, Sarah Snell, said the new programmes would be of benefit for anyone in Tararua who wanted to improve their chances of landing jobs.
"As well as increasing people's skills to become work ready, it presents opportunities for further learning," Dr Snell said.
There are other adult education providers in Tararua, such as the Trade and Commerce centre and Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre.