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Source: Wintec
Twenty-two outstanding adult students who are striving to be the best in their fields were celebrated at the 2019 Wintec Adult Learner Awards.

The six overall winners study a diverse range of vocational qualifications including midwifery, arboriculture, commercial music, information technology and strategic management.

Adult Learner Awards were awarded to Emma Wellwood (Midwifery), Leonard Walker (Bachelor of Media Arts (Commercial Music) and Emelia Harris (Certificate Te Ara Putake).

Nooti Waho (Certificate in Arboriculture Level 4) and Toni Smith (Bachelor of Applied Information Technology) were recognised with Māori and Pasifika Adult Learner Awards and the International Student Award went to Shamila Saldanha (Graduate Diploma in Strategic Management).

Wintec Acting Dean and Director, People and Culture Katrina Van de Ven welcomed students, staff and guests to the awards event which has celebrated adult learners 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 unlike many school-leavers, adult students may have already experienced more of life and are clear about what they are studying and why, and they also know what they hope to achieve.

“Having time to experience the world of work provides 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 there’s specific support for our international students.”

Adult students make up around 45 percent of Wintec’s student population and numbers have increased by 6 percent in the past five years.

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 be enrolled in a full or part-time programme at Wintec.

Van de Ven says nominees should support and encourage other learners, share new skills, knowledge and abilities, challenge themselves and others with new ideas and demonstrate infectious enthusiasm and commitment.