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Wintec honours its top adult learners

Wintec Adult learner Awards nominees and winners
Left to right: Carmen Banks, Torez Wiperi-Karauria-Heta (Award winner), Kimberly Adams, Donna Reihana (Award winner), Jennifer Wright, Rainbow Blossom, Matthew Murdoch, Molly Hottman, Nikitia Donovan (Award winner), Dylan de Morais (Award winner), Zabrina Laing.
Absent: Libby Jackson
(Award winner), Ching-Hui Chang, Zane Eramiha.   

This week, as part of Adult Learners’ Week, He Tangata Matauranga (1-8 September), Wintec, a business division of Te Pūkenga, celebrated the success of its top adult learners. 

The Adult Learner Awards are a highlight of the Wintec calendar and were hosted in the Atrium on Wintec’s city campus. Five exceptional adult learners were honoured and celebrated. All had embraced their learning with enthusiasm and a drive to succeed, challenged themselves and supported others in their learning journeys. 

The recipients of the awards, who each received $1000, came from a diverse range of backgrounds and studied a wide variety of subjects including electrical engineering, midwifery, horticulture, nursing and counselling.

Recipients of this year’s two Adult Learner Awards were Donna Reihana (Bachelor of Nursing) and Libby Jackson (Bachelor of Midwifery).

The two Māori and Pacific Adult Learner Awards were awarded to Nikitia Donovan (Paetahi Tumu Kōrero Bachelor of Counselling) and Torez Wiperi-Karauria-Heta (Advanced Horticultural Trades (Level 4) (Arboriculture)).

Dylan de Morais (Electrical Engineering Level 3) received the Foundation Adult Learner Award.

Wintec Executive Dean, Shelley Wilson, says, “The award winners are all ākonga who have made an impact while studying at Wintec – they were standout students to their tutors and it’s great to be able to celebrate them this way.”

Wilson acknowledges that returning to learning as an adult is often not an easy road, with Covid adding yet another layer of complexity. “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.”

“Making this investment in their futures often comes with sacrifices including balancing study and home life, work commitments and other challenges that life throws their way”, says Wilson.

“It’s really important we acknowledge these factors and celebrate those adult learners who have shown great commitment and effort to their studies, often having to overcome many challenging circumstances. 

“Our adult learners come to their studies with a wealth of life and work experience and skills, which can bring many benefits and help them succeed at tertiary level study. Often, they are clearer of their direction than their younger counterparts, fuelling their passion for their area of study and driving them to set and achieve their learning goals. Their enthusiasm can often be infectious, helping to drive their fellow students to achieve. With 52 per cent of ākonga at Wintec being adult learners, their wide range of life experiences add richness to class discussions, enhancing the learning environment for their peers.” says Wilson. 

“If extra support is needed for our adult learners, we offer workshops, pastoral care including kaiāwhina support, and specific support for international students as well.”

About the Adult Learner Awards

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

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.  

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