Triple success for DACE students in NPT Adult Learner Awards

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Adult learners from Swansea University’s Department of Adult Continuing Education (DACE) have scooped three honours in this year’s Neath Port Talbot Adult Learner Awards 2013.

BA Humanities Degree student Glenn Lindsay, aged 63, from Seven Sisters, was named as winner of both the ‘Higher Education Learner’ and the ‘Older Learner of the Year’ categories.

And an all-female group studying part-time for the Higher Education Foundation Certificate in Humanities at NSA Afan Community Development Centre in Sandfields, Port Talbot, was named as winner of the ‘Group Learning’ category.

The Neath Port Talbot Learning Promotion Group, in conjunction with National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) Dysgu Cymru, held their annual Learner and Tutor Awards (on Thursday, May 23) at the Towers Hotel, Jersey Marine.  The event was an opportunity for learners and tutors to gain recognition for their efforts and demonstrate their commitment to learning. 

Glenn LindsayGlenn Lindsay

Former long-distance lorry driver Glenn Lindsay suffered a serious accident in 2001, which led to him being unable to continue to work, due to health problems.

Whilst recovering from the accident, Glenn’s son gave him a PC to help him fill his time. Glenn had no previous knowledge of computers, so a friend suggested he attended classes at the Dulais Opportunities for Voluntary Enterprise (DOVE) Workshop, in Banwen.

Glenn began studying the Foundation Certificate in IT with DACE in 2006 and he has not looked back since.

He gained the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), Foundation Certificate in Business, and even attended Spanish classes. He then enrolled on DACE’s BA Degree Preparation Programme in Humanities, after which he progressed to the Part-time BA Humanities Degree Programme, studying subjects such as social policy and psychology.

Glenn, who will graduate with his Part-time BA Humanities Degree this July at the University’s Summer Degree and Award Congregations, has studied wholly in the community at the DOVE Workshop.

He said: “I am delighted to win these awards!  After losing my confidence after the accident, my learning experience has turned my life around.

“The DACE Part-time Degree programme has been an ideal way for me to study, as it is very close to where I live. I have also received so much support from the University and DACE with regards to my health condition.”

Glenn was nominated for the awards by Vanessa Thomas, DACE Development Officer, who said: “Glenn's enthusiasm for learning is inspiring and despite his health conditions, his attendance has been commendable. 

“Whilst studying with DACE, Glenn has been a source of encouragement and support to his peers during their studies.  He will be acting as a DACE student ambassador at forthcoming DACE Information Events over the summer, where he will speak to prospective students about his positive learning experience as a community student with DACE.” 

Sandfields GroupThe Higher Education Foundation Certificate in Humanities group

The all-female group studying for the two-year, part-time DACE Higher Education Foundation Certificate in Humanities, at NSA Afan Community Development Centre in Sandfields, Port Talbot, comprises Sammy-Jo Atkins, Kelly Jacobs, Dawn Kilinc, Ann-Marie Kinsey, Fiona Lewis, Carol Millard, Angela Reid.

The group embarked upon the programme in 2011, and on their first day it was clear to Joanna Ward, Foundation Certificate Coordinator, that the students wanted to improve themselves, their educational achievements, and their career prospects.

The group members came from a variety of educational backgrounds, with either no or few formal qualifications. However, they were all keen and enthusiastic about the university-level studies they were about to start.

The Foundation Certificate in Humanities is a programme designed to give students an overview of topics, underpinned by a comprehensive package of study skills and IT support. The students, who meet once a week, began with history, counselling, psychology and sociology, and this academic year they have studied literature, philosophy and media studies. 

“As the course has progressed, it has become clear that the students have all undergone some changes – as community learners, as women, as mothers, and as individuals,” said Joanna Ward, of DACE.

“However, they remain focussed on achieving a Higher Education qualification and to graduate alongside full-time students at Swansea University.”

Carol Millard, one of the group members, said when they started the course, many of the learners didn’t know what to expect.

“But the staff at the centre and the DACE tutors have been really friendly and approachable,” she said.

“We are all in this together and it is good that we can decide what subjects we study. The part-time and flexible nature of the programme allows us to choose the optional modules that best reflect our interests.

“We really feel that the programme is tailored to us as a group of women with families and other work and caring commitments.

“It was also great going down to Swansea to see the University campus and to find out more about what facilities and resources are available to us there. Everyone was really eager to show us that we are just like the “traditional” students on campus – but the only difference for us is that we study in Sandfields!”

Many of the group are already planning to progress to the part-time BA (Honours) degree in Humanities, which will be offered by DACE at Sandfields, Port Talbot, later this year.

Congratulating all the students on their success this year in the Neath Port Talbot Adult Learner Awards, Professor Colin Trotman, Head of the DACE at Swansea University, said: “I am delighted that these students have received recognition for their studies. 

“Their stories are inspirational and they are to be congratulated on gaining these esteemed awards. We wish them well with their future studies.”

DACE Part-time Degree student Wendy McBride and the Foundation Certificate in Humanities Group at Sandfields, Port Talbot, were also both runners-up in the ‘Higher Education Learner’ category, and received a certificate of achievement.