“If was my father who first suggested Cooke E-Learning,” explains Hitesh. “He had done computer courses there and said I would enjoy them too. He was right! I had done all of the courses in a matter of weeks, and it was very natural to then start helping others around me.”
Now Hitesh volunteers at the centre, and runs several classes a week. He says: “I think it started out because I speak six languages, so when someone came into the centre and struggled with English, the tutors would call me over to help translate. Because I can speak their language I can explain things, and translate or make up words for things like the space bar so people understand them. Soon I became a volunteer tutor myself.
“I have always found that the trick to help people use computers and the internet is to find out what they are interested in and start from there. So if someone needs a job, I will start off by looking at job search sites. If someone wants to use Facebook or Skype to talk to family back home, I will start there.
“One thing that can always motivate people is saving money. Everybody loves a bargain! And there are massive savings to be made on the internet.
“A very good place to start is by comparing different shops and prices online. It would take you hours to go around to all the shops and look at prices, and sometimes they have special prices for the website anyway. Just the other week one of my learners was looking for a smartphone and asked me my opinion. He had seen one he liked in a shop on the high street for £160, but when we looked online it was £120. He saved £40!
“But it is not just shopping for things online that can save you money. Many of my learners want to watch the live cricket matches but cannot afford to pay for them on the television. Watching online they are free.
“Over the years I have helped local people save hundreds if not thousands of pounds. It may only be a few pounds here and there, but that adds up, and in this day and age that can make a big difference to people.
“Computers and the internet really can help people save money, but they can do so much more than that as well. The internet helps people stay healthy, find jobs, keep in touch with family abroad, and follow hobbies that make them happy. And best of all, anyone can learn how to use it. Just come and see me at Cooke E-Learning and I’ll show you myself!”