Challenges no obstacle for eight Wintec Adult Learner Award winners

Eight Wintec students achievement were recognised with the Wintec Adult Learner Awards

Eight adult students with a passion and determination for learning, were recognised with the 2020 Adult Learner Awards in Wintec, Hamilton. 

The outstanding student winners study a diverse range of vocational qualifications including architecture, music and performing arts, IT, midwifery, teaching, nursing, languages and sport and exercise science, and are all at least 25 years old.  

The recipients of this year’s awards were Annaleise Giles (Architectural Technology), Keri Pewhairangi (Bachelor of Music & Performing Arts), Grayson Newton-Smith (Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)) and Park Chatchawalit (New Zealand Certificate in English) who received the Foundation and Adult Leaner Award.   

The Māori and Pasifika Adult Learner Award was shared between Vicky Henry (Bachelor of Midwifery), Sasha Harper (Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Science – Level 7), Eady Manawaiti (Bachelor of Technology), while Eunseo Park (Bachelor of Nursing) received the International Student Award. 

Wintec Acting Dean and Director People and Culture Katrina Van de Ven acknowledges the Adult Learner Awards have been celebrated at Wintec since 2004. 

“Our adult learners have returned to learning and through dedication and commitment, many achieve beyond what they ever thought possible.  

“They are making an investment in their futures and as learners, they face challenges. Many have made big sacrifices, balancing time, energy, family and work commitments to keep going. It’s not an easy road and we acknowledge that.” 

Van de Ven says that many students who come to study later in life are clearer about what they want to study and why, with set goals and outcomes arising from having a bit of life experience under their belts. 

“Having prior experience in the workforce and just everyday life experience can provide adults with skills that can help them succeed at tertiary study. If mature age students need extra support, we offer workshops and pastoral care including kaiāwhina support for our Māori and Pasifika students and we also offer specific support for our international students. 

“This year has been particularly challenging for many of our adult learners as they have faced extra obstacles due to COVID-19. The resilience and tenacity of these students has really shone through, and we’re so proud of their continued efforts and achievements in the face of adversity.” 

To be nominated for the Adult Learner Awards students must be over 25 years old, balance roles and responsibilities associated with being an adult learner and enrolled in a full or part-time programme at Wintec. 

Van de Ven says nominees should demonstrate enthusiasm, determination, show support and encouragement to other learners, share new skills, knowledge and abilities, and challenge themselves and others with new ideas.  

Wintec’s Adult Learner Awards are part of The Festival of Adult Learning, Ahurei  Ākonga a UNESCO initiative supported by the Tertiary Education Commission, adult and community education providers, and the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO. It incorporates International Literacy Day celebrated on 8 September each year.