How the Future Ready: Life Online course increased confidence with computers for CB Civil Excavator Operator Semisi Finau


Semisi Finau felt nervous about starting the Future Ready – Life Online course. The former boxer from Tonga was concerned that the digital literacy course may be overwhelming. 

But a chat with his boss - and a few moments with his wife and kids - encouraged Semisi to give it a shot. It turned out to be one of his best decisions, as the course empowered him with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the digital age. 

Resilience and courage lead to great results  

CB Civil Excavator Operator Semisi shares his story of bravery and perseverance.  From early challenges in a course focused on helping him gain confidence in using digital technology, to a journey of discovering his self-belief and interest in upskilling.  

“I didn’t finish school in Tonga, and when I moved to New Zealand, I had no idea about speaking English. When CB Civil suggested I go on this course I was so nervous, and in that first session, just looking at all the buttons on the computer, it made my head spin,” says Semisi. 

Semisi says that the conversation he had with his manager Tom was a game changer and thanks him for his support and an opportunity to learn new skills in the workplace.

“In the future, all the machines are going to be computerised. I’ve got six kids to support so when I went home and looked at my family, I realised I have to sacrifice myself for them.” - Semisi Finau, Life Online course graduate

Practical learning for real-life application 

CB Civil is a national civil engineering group headquartered in Auckland. CB Civil creates award-winning infrastructure, all whilst driving the highest sustainability standards. The company works alongside local government, Iwi and Tangata Whenua to deliver social outcomes Aotearoa is proud of. 

Looking after employees plays an important part in delivering the best results. When CB Civil’s Project Manager Tom Fisher heard about the opportunity to enroll Pacific workers for free, in-work training through Project Ikuna, he didn’t hesitate. 

“We’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to put a team of people on this course. We’ve seen many positive outcomes for our staff because of it.”  -  Tom Fisher, CB Civil Project Manager

The Future Ready: Life Online is a 16-hour programme that teaches everything from keyboard and mouse basics to sending emails including attachments, using computer technology for presentations, and getting payslips from work electronically. Internet safety is a critical component and with the growing number of scams in the news, this is getting more and more important to be aware of, so a part of the course covers how to stay safe online. Delivered for CV Civil by workplace training provider Education Unlimited, this training played a pivotal role in future-proofing employees for the changing workforce. 

A door to new career opportunities  

For Semisi, successfully completing the programme has opened the door to a whole new world of opportunity. Not only has his confidence skyrocketed, but he now has the digital skills he needs to grow his career and realise his ambitions within the industry.

“I’m so excited now. Before I would only work on the machinery that wasn’t digital, but now that I’m confident on the touch screen the boys can send me anywhere. Completing this course was a big change for me – my family were shocked! I’ve come from nowhere but now I can work my way up to a high level.”  - Semisi Finau, Life Online course graduate

By supporting employees like Semisi to boost their digital literacy, CB Civil are changing their lives, and this busy dad of six couldn’t be more grateful. 

“I’ve been at CB Civil for about four years now, initially as a truck driver, but then I decided to get on the machinery and build up my career. They have supported me, sending me on this course and other courses too, and now I need to support them. I love to keep them happy!” says Semisi. 

The team at CB Civil couldn’t be prouder of Semisi’s commitment and the hard work and buy in displayed by their staff. “The business looks forward to continuing to support the development of our people, seeking to add value both professionally and personally,” says Tom. 

Upskilling with Project Ikuna 

The Future Ready – Life Online that led to brave new changes for Semisi and his colleagues at CB Civil is part of Project Ikuna, a four-year MBIE-funded programme designed to help upskill Auckland’s Pacific workforce. It’s aimed at giving people the skills and knowledge they need to adapt to the future of work. 

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