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My name is Cheryl Browne and I live in Titahi bay. I am a 59 year old mother of two girls and have three grandchildren who also live in Titahi Bay. 

I have worked most of my life, between raising children. Being without work for the last seven months has left me wondering what sort of employment is available for a person my age with my limited qualifications.

Remaining unemployed is not something I want to do, partly for financial reasons but mainly because I am still very active, and get quickly bored without any contact or activity outside of my home.

When I was asked by my WINZ case worker if there was something I felt I needed to help me in my search for work, I told her I would love to do a computer course.

I had noted that a majority of positions requested a certain level of computer literacy which I did not have. 

When the case worker told me about the ‘Computers in Homes’ course, I was excited but had a ‘that sounds too good to be true’ feeling.

However, it was true and here I am at the end of the course and still absolutely amazed that such an opportunity has been made available, not only to myself but to the many fortunate people before and those who will come after me.

Due to my fear of being in group situations, where I am expected to verbally ‘take part’ and the fact that I was pretty much computer illiterate, I was really nervous about this course. I had no reason to worry because from day one, because of Tim’s informal, relaxed teaching method and the realisation that I was among people who were ‘just like me’, my nerves settled and I was able to relax and enjoy every moment.

Being part of such a friendly, non- threatening, learning environment has been valuable in more ways than one.

I have a ten year old special needs daughter, Kasadi who I adopted from birth.

Kasadi has severe learning difficulties, and the ability to read and write, is something she will probably never master.

Within the school system Kasadi has had access to computer programmes that have helped her to recognise key words and, without the need to physically form letters, she has even been able to compose her own stories. The delight and pride Kasadi shows, when she has achieved something new on the computer, makes all her hard work so worthwhile and gives me a real sense of hope for her future. Kasadi is so hungry to learn that I want her to have access to anything that will help.

The school has given Kasadi her own password to access the programmes at home, and she is disappointed that she has not yet been able to do so. Just to see the smile on her face when I told her we would soon have a computer at home, was reason enough for me to be hugely grateful that I was able to take part in this course.

With a computer and internet access, plus a mum who is now confident using a computer, I know we will see Kasadi advance with her reading, writing and mathematics.

For myself, I have learned so much in such a short time and feel a hunger to learn more. The more I learn the better my chances of obtaining employment.

If I am not successful in getting a job I am still hopeful about my prospects, as a result of this course.

Since my retail business closed down in October 2013, I have had the idea to run a small business from home. This would involve marketing, research, obtaining materials, creating a cash flow, keeping records and numerous other tasks that would come up as the business progressed. A major part of this would require a computer and internet access, so my dream is now within reach. 

The options for me and my family are numerous!

It is hard to express how grateful I am to Tim, Peter and Noel for their time and for the sharing of their knowledge, to make such valuable changes in people’s lives.

Having access to online help and information is a necessary part of everyday life now and in the future. Tim and his team have made it achievable for parents and children who may otherwise have missed out.

Inspiring Learning Story

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