|Newly-appointed Derwent Valley Online Access Centre|
co-ordinator Sam Cowley.
The Online Access Centre has been operating from a corner of the New Norfolk Library for nearly 20 years, managed by a volunteer-based committee, voluntary workers and two staff members for much of that time.
The newly-appointed co-ordinator started volunteering at the centre in November 2018 and was appointed to the role of assistant co-ordinator in January last year. He holds a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania and sees the Online Access Centre as a safe place for people to study and learn how to use computers.
The centre is open to all members of the community and offers a range of services free of charge or at a minimal cost. One of the most valuable services offered is the targeted one-on-one training in any area of computing.
“People come in wanting to learn specific skills that meet their individual needs," Mr Cowley said. "One person came in wanting to learn how to build a website to promote his business. We made a recommendation for software that would work best for his needs. Then over several weeks in one-on one training sessions he developed the skills he needed to create and manage his website,” he said.
"Requests are wide and varied. Some people come in for advice when there is something wrong with their computer. Some people want to learn how to use software such as Excel or Publisher. For many people it’s about developing confidence using computers," Mr Cowley said.
TasTAFE and the Online Access Centre offer a free accredited Computer Foundations course, placements in Work for the Dole are offered through the Job Network agencies as well as assistance with CV writing and the development of work skills.
Since 2003 the centre has been responsible for the production of the annual Derwent Valley Business and Services Directory, with the most recent edition recently distributed to homes throughout the region.
"The Derwent Valley Online Access Centre is a valuable community resource and is here to provide support for your digital challenges. Next time you feel like throwing your computer out the window – get some friendly advice instead!" Mr Cowley said.
The Derwent Valley Online Access Centre is co-located in the New Norfolk Library, in Charles St, New Norfolk. For more information phone 6261 1155 or visit derwentvalleyonlineaccesscentre.com