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Positive spirit at celebration of adult learners’ achievements

A special learners' day at Literacy Aotearoa, Gisborne in Grey Street celebrated the courage and dedication of the many students who attend the centre.

Literacy Aotearoa Gisborne delivers courses and one-on-one tutoring to help improve reading, writing and maths skills. It is fully funded so there is no cost to students.

Cluster manager Rene Babbington said it often took a certain amount of courage for students to acknowledge they needed help with literacy but once they enrolled in the courses, it changed their lives for the better. About 450 learners attended courses at Literacy Aotearoa Gisborne last year.

The celebration was part of this year's Festival of Adult Learning with more than 35 organisers running festival event programmes around the country.

The aim is to promote the positive benefits of lifelong learning — firing up the brain, helping people connect and creating exciting, sustainable communities.

Literacy Aotearoa Gisborne site coordinator Rosina Kahuroa said the Gisborne event was a positive and happy occasion.

“The theme was lifelong learning so we took the opportunity to recognise some of our tutor achievers.”

These are students who have attained their New Zealand Certificate in Adult Tertiary Teaching (NCATT) Level 4 and New Zealand Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education Level 5 .

“We celebrated our wonderful adult learners who are enrolled in 1:1 Workplace Literacy, Intensive Literacy & Numeracy, Learner Licence, Te Reo, Digital Literacy, NZ Certificate of Foundation Skills and ESOL (English as a second language) courses.

“We also recognised our tutor volunteers and others who help, which enables us to function more easily,” Ms Kahuroa said.

“I felt pleased with myself and what I had accomplished,” said one learner.

“I liked being recognised for what I had done.”

A tutor spoke of a learner who was ‘whakama' (shy). It took him some months before to enrol in the work readiness programme. One year later, the learner has registered for the NCATT (L4) tutor trainee programme, is supporting the digital literacy group and attended a toastmasters meeting.

Tutors Milka Oakley, Bubsie Swannell, Sally Knight, Ruby Hata and Stuart Moriarty-Patten were given a special shout-out at the event.

“Without the passion, expertise and skills of our tutors it would be impossible for Literacy Aotearoa, Gisborne to function,” said Ms Kahuroa.

Statistics around adult literacy show there are too many people without wider literacy and numeracy skills. Literacy Aotearoa exists to help address this problem and provide people with the basic skills to succeed in society. Statistics also show a close relationship between unemployment and the lack of basic literacy skills.

Literacy Aotearoa targets Maori, Pasifika and youth. The courses are open to students aged from 16 to 70 and older, to encourage “lifelong learning”.

LIFELONG LEARNING: Literacy Aotearoa Gisborne tutor trainees at The Festival of Adult Learning event (from left) Karen Marsh, Tyron Cairns, Milka Oakley, site coordinator Rosina Kahuroa and trainee Mele Tuifua. Picture supplied