Telling learning stories to encourage others
Every year, a small group of extra-impressive learners are chosen as Adult Learners Week Ambassadors. The inspiring stories of these learners provide fantastic examples of how people can change their lives through learning.
Sunil, Deanie and James took part in the Adult Learners Week launch (see earlier story). Here are the other 2023 Ambassadors.
Grahame Neville worked in the same laundry job at his local hospital for almost 30 years. He wasn’t able to get a promotion because of his difficulty with literacy and numeracy.
In 2021, Grahame decided to get help with reading and maths through the Tamworth Community College. With new skills and confidence, he then went on to complete a Certificate II in Work and Vocational Pathways and Computing for Work. He is still studying, with a new focus on leadership and development.
Fans of the SBS Lost for Words series might recognise Grahame, who appeared on the show in 2022 – the same year that he won the Community Colleges Australia Student of the Year Award.
Behind in reading and writing due to illness-related absences during his primary schooling, Terrence Lennon-Wingfield dropped out of high school and started looking for work. Picking up odd jobs between stretches of unemployment, Terrence realised that his literacy skills were holding him back.
In 2020, tired of struggling to read text messages, fill out job applications and rely on others to read for him, Terrence enrolled in a Certificate 1 in Access to Vocational Pathways course at Taoundi Aboriginal College in Port Adelaide.
With improved skills and confidence, Terrence completed basic infection control training and became a volunteer COVID 19 Marshall during the pandemic. He then completed the Certificate III in
Community Services in 2021.
And Terrence’s advice to others thinking about adult learning? ‘You’ve got to ask questions and be prepared to make mistakes.’
Trudy Shan Walder left school at the beginning of Year 11 and, in her 20s, experienced domestic violence and injuries which will remain throughout her life.
Despite facing obstacles, Trudy enrolled into an Aged and Disability Care program and worked so hard to pursue her studies, she was given the nickname, ‘Dr Trudy’.
In 2019, Trudy undertook Foundation Studies and later enrolled in Psychology at the University of South Australia. She also learned to play the saxophone and now plays with a local band. When she finishes her psychology course, Trudy wants to work in education so she can support other students achieve their own learning goals.
Belinda Flavel, a West Australian single mum to a daughter, started university at 35. Belinda was unable to finish Year 10 after a horse riding accident left her in a coma and months of rehabilitation.
After her long recovery, Belinda worked in retail and as a bookkeeper but struggled with mental health issues and alcoholism. She eventually completed certificates in bookkeeping, OHS and computing and, at 31, decided that a Diploma of Community Services would help her to help other people.
Since graduating, she has established a counselling practice that combines equine assisted and play therapy for people of all ages.
Read the full Quest Issue 3.