High school students boost digital literacy thanks to Microsoft IT skills programme

(Last Updated On: July 9, 2014)

Nine students from Mana College, Porirua, have been recognised and congratulated by Education Minister Hekia Parata for their efforts in successfully graduating from a Microsoft-led IT training programme at their school.

The Minster presented the students with graduation certificates for the Microsoft IT Academy’s ‘Microsoft Office Specialist’ course at Parliament last week. The event took place as part of Connect Smart Week, a Government-led initiative to promote better digital security among New Zealanders.

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.

The Microsoft IT Academy is a global initiative designed to improve digital literacy and equip students with skills for the modern workforce. The programme also encourages students to consider careers and pursue opportunities in the technology sector.

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

Mana College is one of 10 schools participating in a nationwide pilot programme for Microsoft’s IT Academy being run with the Ministry of Education, and is the only participating school in the greater Wellington region.

Principal of Mana College, Mike Webster, says the school has seen a strong increase in information technology literacy among students as a result of the programme, which to date has been undertaken by more than 100 students.

Mr Webster also says the school was so impressed by the Microsoft IT Academy initiative that it has now adopted it as part of their regular curriculum.

Evan Blackman, Microsoft’s Education Sector Manager says the company has been thrilled to see the success of the programme at Mana College and the other schools in the pilot programme, which has been running since early 2013.

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

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

There are 300 different courses available in the IT Academy, ranging from basic computer literacy skills in Microsoft software, through to high-end skills to help students become Software Developers and IT Professionals.  Students can sit examinations online that certify their newly acquired skills. Each of the schools has access to 1000 Microsoft IT Academy certifications per year.

Following the successful pilot programme, Blackman says Microsoft is looking forward to expanding the Microsoft IT Academy programme even wider in the coming year.


Source: Microsoft Education Blog,

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