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Celebrating Wintec’s outstanding adult learners


Captivating, passionate, motivated and enthusiastic are just a few of the words used to describe this year’s Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) Adult Learner Award recipients.

The organisation hosted its annual Adult Learner Awards on Wednesday, with an event celebrating its top adult learners aged 25 and above as part of the national Festival of Adult Learning Ahurei Ākonga, He Tangata Mātauranga 2018 (3-9 September).

Six awards valued at $1,000 each are given out to adult students who show enthusiasm and commitment to their study; support and encourage others in learning activities; share their skills, knowledge, and abilities; and challenge themselves and others with new ideas.

This year’s winners are:

Angela Gray-Williams, studying the Bachelor of Midwifery

Kris Moore, studying the Bachelor of Engineering Technology

Ling (Grace) Tong, studying the New Zealand Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) Level 2

Merlin Nawalowalo, studying the Certificate in Arboriculture Level 4

Juanita Te Tau Grace Searancke, studying the Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

Hao Zhang, studying New Zealand Diploma in Engineering.

Wintec Executive Dean, Gaye Barton said the awards were a significant event on the annual calendar.

“Choosing to undertake tertiary study later in life isn’t always easy and often involves overcoming significant obstacles and balancing priorities. The awards celebrate these students, the efforts they go through, and the academic achievements and social contributions they make.

“The award winners are all students who have made an impact while studying at Wintec – they were standout students to both their tutors and peers – and it’s great to be able to formally recognise them this way.”

The awards were presented at a ceremony held at The Atrium, in Wintec House, which was attended by around 90 people, including nominees, their families, and Wintec staff and tutors.

This year’s guest speaker was Wintec’s first Bachelor of Midwifery male graduate, Glen Valentine. Glen is no stranger to the Adult Learner Awards as he was a deserving recipient at the 2016 awards.

Glen returned to study later in life, inspired by a midwife's care around the birth of his second daughter. Glen now works as a registered midwife and lead maternity carer in Rotorua.

“During his time at Wintec, Glen balanced the shared care of his two girls with study, travel to Hamilton and work placements – a great example of a standout adult learner who has gone on to achieve great things,” says Gaye.


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