Boost for Kiwi students as Microsoft NZ helps hone digital skills

Graduates from the Microsoft IT Academy’s ‘Microsoft Office Specialist’ course have earned special recognition from Hekia Parata, Education Minister, as well as digital skills to aid their future.

The nine students from Mana College in Porirua were presented with graduation certificates and congratulations from Parata in a Connect Smart Week event at Parliament.

“It was a privilege to present these very deserving students with their graduation certificates,” Parata says. “Programmes like this are a great way of making sure our kids are equipped to work in today’s modern workforce.”

The graduating Mana College students were Krystal Bishop, Tautahi Johnstone, Jammee Kirikino, Jayden Charteris, Naki Eriepa, Karina Kinvig, Chelsea Hawkins, Asilika Tuiwainunu and Carlos Graham.

Mana College is participating in a nationwide pilot programme of the Microsoft IT Academy, which is being run in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. It is the only participating school in the greater Wellington region, with a further nine schools throughout the country participating in the programme.

The aim of the Microsoft IT Academy is to improve digital literacy and equip students with skills for the modern workforce. The global initiative also encourages students to consider the technology sector as a career option.

The Microsoft IT Academy has 300 different courses, from basic computer literacy skills in software through to high-end skills preparing students to become IT professionals.

As a result of the programme, Mike Webster, Principal of Mana College, says there has been a strong increase in information technology literacy amongst students. To date more than 100 students have participated in the programme, which has now been adopted as part of their regular curriculum.

The pilot programme was established in early 2013, and Evan Blackman, Microsoft’s Education Sector Manager says the company is thrilled with its success both at Mana College and the other schools. Microsoft is looking forward to expanding the programme in the coming year.

“The IT Academy programme is designed to help lift employability for the modern workforce, as well as opening up pathways into technology-based careers,” he says.

“It provides the resources and content that allow schools to lead students through industry-recognised training and certification programmes.”

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