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Face time . . . Checking out the Face and Space project at the Ara campus in Oamaru are (back, from left) Falakika Tangifolau (11), Katea Tangifolau (10), Ane Tangifolau (12); middle, Tufunga Lolo, Onna Tangifolau; front, Lesieli Tahirih Tangifolau (6). PHOTO: EMILY MENKES

Onna Tangifolau is thrilled with the new Face and Space project at Ara’s Oamaru campus.

The mother of four is completing a diploma in business management through Ara’s online programmes, and intends to make use of the project’s quiet learning spaces and free Wi-Fi.

The Face and Space pilot project launched last week at the Oamaru campus, offering a community connection, a physical learning space and practical support for online programmes and blended (combining online and face-to-face learning) programmes.

“Ara has created a great space, I find it so helpful. I get to put what I’ve been learning into practice and it’s motivated me to go further,” Mrs Tangifolau said.

“It’s also really important for me to motivate my kids. Seeing Mum and Dad studying makes my kids study too.

“It’s hard work, though. Sometimes I stay up all night.”

Once she has completed her diploma, Mrs Tangifolau intends to work with youth in the community.

Oamaru educator Tim McEvoy said the programme had been designed to provide students with more support.

“It brings a really broad portfolio of courses that the community hasn’t had easy access to before,” he said.

“It’s basically individual learning with individual support.

“We are in this world where it’s all online. Once people get to grips with the model then they are quite enthusiastic about the offerings, knowing that there is a real person to walk along beside them.

“We are walking beside them from enrolment to graduation.”