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A wide range of Otago Polytechnic adult learners will celebrate their academic journeys this week.

Otago Polytechnic’s Adult Learning Awards, to be held at its Dunedin Campus on Thursday, October 28, shine a light on academic paths both challenging and empowering.

Six present or past Otago Polytechnic English Language Centre (ELC) students, six former Foundation Learning students – as well as three current Otago Polytechnic staff – have been nominated for awards, which will be presented by Chief Executive Dr Megan Gibbons and Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins.

“Whether supporting children or partners in their own tertiary study, encouraging classmates during the period of learning during COVID or balancing several part-time jobs with full-time study and family responsibilities, the nominated students from the English Language Centre have been outstanding,” Aaron Blaker, Head of English Language Centre, says.

“The challenges have kept coming in 2021, as they did in previous years, but the prevailing attitude toward learning of the nominated students has encompassed dignity, intelligence, and collaboration: qualities and lives worth celebrating.”

For the duration of its existence, the Otago Polytechnic English Language Centre has worked to provide a quality, values-centred and deeply human learning environment for tertiary students studying English as an additional language. Students and staff consider it a special place to learn and interact.

Harriet Walsh, Head of Foundation Learning, Otago Polytechnic, says foundation learners might enter programmes at different stages of their academic journey, life, and career story – but the common themes among the nominated students are their dedication to study and academic excellence, compassion for others, leadership qualities, the passion to learn and a desire to make positive changes in their lives.

“These learners not only inspire their peers but Foundation staff, too, through the huge challenges, including trauma, and barriers they have faced. They have shown just how resilient and brave they are returning to study while acting as role models to others.

“The whole Foundation team are incredibly proud of these students and their efforts – not only during their time on the Foundation Learning programmes but also their continued studies at Otago Polytechnic, work and beyond,” Harriet says.

“The Foundation Learning staff group are an extremely dedicated and compassionate group of educators who continually give their all every day to our wonderful learners, inspiring and enabling confidence to grow. We see considerable gains and successes every day and it truly is a privilege to work alongside these staff and students.”

A further 15 adult learners from various organisations based in Ōtepoti Dunedin will receive awards. The organisations represented are Volunteering Otago, Harrington Vaughan, English Language Partners and Skillsec.

The ceremony comprises three categories: Outstanding Adult Learner Award; Exceptional Adult Educator Award; and Innovative Provider Award.

The awards are part of the nationwide Manaaki Festival of Adult Learning Ahurei Ākonga 2021, which celebrates the wide range of learning opportunities available to adults in New Zealand, and the impact of education on people’s lives.

More than 65,000 adults are engaged in some form of learning every year.

Read more about Otago Polytechnic’s English Language Centre here

Read more about Otago Polytechnic’s Foundation Studies here

Published on 26 Oct 2021

Orderdate: 26 Oct 2021
Expiry: 26 Oct 2023