Adult Community Education (ACE) program gives you options to start your learning journey. For more information, see how ACE has helped other learners.

Rezhin Qubbadi

Rezhin Qubbadi
Expand iconRead Rezhin Qubbadi's story.

Rezhin commenced the Introduction to Women’s Studies at the Pooraka Farm Community Centre in early 2017.

At the time, Rezhin was a member of the women's group at the Parafield Gardens Children Centre and was looking at ways in which to engage in her community. Rezhin was a model student who was actively involved in the program as well as the many activities being undertaken at the community centre. Through her involvement in the program, her confidence, communication skills and ability to stand up for herself developed quickly.

Rezhin found her strengths through the program and she developed a focus to achieve her goals. She clearly established what she wanted out of life, what kind of people she wanted to be around and how she was going to get there. She learnt the skills to balance her home life with her personal growth and find her own voice.

Rezhin has now begun volunteering at the Parafield Gardens Children’s Centre. She is planning to commence the Certificate 3 in Women's Studies at TAFESA in 2019 and has a goal of studying at university when her children are a little older.

Rezhin now has the skills, ability and confidence to succeed in whatever she puts her mind to.

Kelly Barrett

Kelly Barrett
Expand iconRead Kelly Barrett's story.

Kelly Barrett is a Program Manager at the Zahra Foundation. She has extensive experience supporting women and children affected by domestic and family violence from her previous role as a domestic violence support worker.

Eighteen months ago, Kelly developed the Adult Community Education (ACE) Pathways to Empowerment program, a 9-week, trauma-informed group learning program targeting women who have experienced domestic violence. The program assists women disconnected from the workforce or educational opportunities due to domestic violence, to identify their skills, strengths, values and interests and apply this learning to the development of a pathway or action plan.

Kelly works from a client centred and trauma informed model and understands the diverse needs of her client group, supporting the women both in group settings and on an individual basis. Kelly is approachable and genuine in her concern for womens’ safety which is always at the forefront of her work. Kelly goes above and beyond her role as trainer and facilitator, by ensuring that all participants are pre-interviewed prior to the program commencing to identify any barriers or other concerns. She keeps in constant communication with all students to keep them engaged and motivated.

Most women who complete Pathways to Empowerment achieve their goals with many moving into vocational education and training. Several participants have enrolled in university and returned to the workforce as a result of their participation in the program.

Kelly has created referral pathways for women into mentoring programs with the Education Network and supports each client to ensure they have the tools to achieve their goals and take the next steps. The support Kelly gives her clients assists them to life changing confidence and independence.

Kelly was recently named 2018 Adult Educator/Mentor of the Year in the Adult Learners’ Week Awards.

FocusOne Health

Expand iconRead FocusOne Health's story.

FocusOne Health's accredited Adult Community Education program 'In the Name of Art' is an eleven-week interactive community arts program delivered in the Riverland. In the Name of Art improves literacy and numeracy skills through artistic mediums, ultimately supporting participants connect to new learning, earning and volunteer opportunities.

Participants engage in learning a range of art techniques that support the development of foundation skills. The program provides a safe environment for students to learn new skills in an interactive environment. This approach attracts students who otherwise may not have engaged with a learning program.

The program was structured to be interactive and fun to maintain group interest and maximise attendance. Transport was offered to participants to living within a 40km geographical reach to counteract the transport issues existing within the region. Student support requirements were considered and addressed accordingly, including the learning needs of individuals, access, cultural issues, motivation and personal crisis. Session content was interactive and a range of learning styles (visual, audio and kinaesthetic) were incorporated into session plans to accommodate individual student learning needs.

By program completion, students communicated with higher levels of confidence, felt a sense of achievement and had purpose and direction going forward.

Twenty-five students enrolled in the program and at the course end, 20 participants obtained a TAFE SA accredited unit from the Foundation Skills Certificate. Additional outcomes include students enrolling in further study; commencing volunteering; and employment.

In the Name of Art was recently named 2018 Adult Learning Program of the Year in the 2018 Adult Learners’ Week Awards. FocusOne Health’s Adult Community Education programs are now well established and have become a popular and sought-after service in the Riverland community.

Maria Hathazi

Expand iconRead Maria Hathazi's story.

Maria engaged with the Pooraka Farm Community Centre through the Introduction to Aged and Disability program in late 2017.

As a mother of three children with learning difficulties, ADHD and ASD, her challenges with her own mental health and her role as a carer had taken their toll, and Maria was referred to the program by a health care worker.

Maria quickly grasped the new skills taught by the program and became a highly engaged student who would support others within the group. After completing the program, Maria enrolled in the Introduction to Women’s Studies program in early 2018 and participated in the Workforce Transitions Pathways project.

Trainers watched Maria’s confidence blossom as she started to realise the many opportunities available to her. She learnt to balance her own educational and health needs with her children’s care responsibilities, and found she was able to focus on herself for the first time.

Maria is now a volunteer mentor in the ACE Foundation Skills accredited programs at Pooraka Farm Community Centre and is co-facilitating when the opportunity arises. She has taken on a lead role in the non-accredited women’s group and has all the makings of a program facilitator in the future.

Maria is actively involved in the Pooraka Farm Community Centre and has plans to continue her involvement for as long as possible. She has found her place, and loves being able to give back to other students and help support them like she was supported at the beginning of her journey.

Maria plans to study Event Management in the future.

The Junction Community Centre

The Junction Community Centre
Expand iconRead The Junction Community Centre's story.

The Cross-Cultural Learning: Australia's Oldest & Newest Citizens project has been a highlight on the Adult Learners’ Week calendar for the last two years. The project offers participants the opportunity to experience a guided tour through regions of significance to Aboriginal people, going beyond the surface of what is ordinarily taught. In 2018, the project was conducted in the following regions: • Coorong National Park including the Camp Coorong Museum - significant to the Ngarrindjeri people • Point Pearce including Innes National Park on the Yorke Peninsula - significant to the Narungga people • Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park on the Murray - significant to the Nganguraku people.

Initially targeting newly arrived refugees and migrants but open to all members of the community, the project gives participants a greater understanding and appreciation of the history, culture and plight of Australia's first people. The project draws on the differences between - and within - cultures but more importantly the parallels between them. Participants have the opportunity to hear the lived experiences of each of the local Elder tour guides, making the program personal to each learner undertaking it.

The impact on participants has been profound. There has been a new appreciation of the Aboriginal history, culture and lifestyle. Many participants felt enriched by their inclusion in the project, particularly by Quentin Agius' spiritual connection to the land (Burra). Learners were touched by the importance placed on passing the information down to younger generations and seeing the tour guides very young grandchildren also demonstrating their knowledge by relaying information to the group.

The Junction Community Centre plans to continue to educate the local community about Australia's history and Aboriginal people. They have strengthened their partnership with the Grannies Group (Aboriginal Elders that advocate for the ATSI community) as a result of this project. The Junction Community Centre has been widely acknowledged for this project, including being nominated for an award in 'Recognition of a non-ATSI organisation for their contribution to the ATSI community'.

Little Cove Coffee Hut

Little Cove Coffee Hut
Expand iconRead Little Cove Coffee Hut's story.

From humble beginnings, Baptist Care (SA) – Hallett Cove connected an eager team of 9 learners to The Little Cove Coffee Hut. Using a Homestyle coffee machine and cosy kitchen space, they serve coffee, light lunches and sweet treats to customers. Each week, learners worked in teams to create delicious meals and sweets, whilst practising barista skills.

Through connections and support from the ACE Program Pathways Coordinator, The Little Cove Coffee Hut has borrowed an industry standard coffee machine from the Yankalilla Community Centre. Coffee trainers from Hospitality Industry Training SA (HITsa) connected with the program to provide learners with a short Introduction to Coffee session. In the kitchen, participants were trained by a Chef and Dietitian to produce nourishing and delicious meals.

The Little Cove Coffee Hut provides participants with real life experience working within a hospitality setting, building skills from food preparation, money handling, customer service and introductory barista training. In addition, the program increased participant’s confidence and provided them with the skills to be job ready on completion of the project.

Since beginning the project, two learners have gained employment in the hospitality industry, one has commenced volunteering with a local organisation and one is looking to enrol in further education to improve literacy skills. Connections with HITsa have additionally provided learners with a pathway to further study. Project participants have been offered the opportunity to undertake paid work, catering an afternoon tea fundraising event for the Suzanne Elliot Trust. The café is now looking to cater future local events and continues to grow a local customer base.

Regan Morgan

Regan Morgan
Expand iconRead Regan's story.

Regan Morgan became involved in the Introduction to Aged and Disability Care program at the Pooraka Farm Community Centre in late 2017 after seeing a Facebook post advertising the program.

Regan came to the program having experienced living with disability through her son and willingly talked about this with other students, helping them understand the complexity of disability. She was such a positive and friendly force within the program and as she became more comfortable, her full personality emerged. Regan’s honesty and openness allowed others in the program to feel comfortable sharing their experiences, knowing they were supported in a safe space. Regan was actively involved in all aspects of this program and two subsequent programs.

As Regan continued through the Communication Skills to Success program, trainers saw her blossom and become more confident, but given her role as a carer for multiple members of her family, she required additional support in planning and working through barriers to employment. Regan became involved in the Workforce Transitions Pathway project which helped her focus on her strengths, skill set and confidence. She told trainers that she didn’t want to leave the centre as she had gained many strong connections throughout the programs however, she also knew it was time to move on to bigger and better things.

Regan is now working at Stratco as a Sales Representative and loving it! Due to the skills gained at the Pooraka Farm Community Centre, she has been able to structure her life so that she can successfully work and manage the other parts of her life. Regan can be proud of how far she has come. Whilst transforming her life through training and employment, she has stayed true to herself and embraced her honesty and intelligence

Courtney Heynen

Courtney Heynen,  ACE student
Expand iconRead Courtney's story.

Courtney began her learning journey at Uniting SA in December 2016.

After completing school, Courtney was diagnosed with a learning difficulty. This diagnosis clarified a lot of things for her and encouraged her to commence a “Moving Forward” program. Courtney was an eager participant, taking every opportunity to gain further skills, and through this, she was able to secure an employment placement.

Courtney has learnt the value of goal setting and works hard to achieve all the goals she sets for herself. She is always pleasant, happy to help others in the classroom and willing to share her experience and knowledge. Courtney's positive outlook is contagious and her enthusiasm for learning is outstanding. She balances learning with other commitments, attending job search training whilst continuing voluntary work.

The ACE Program has given Courtney the motivation and confidence to completely change the direction of study she had been considering.

Courtney has commenced the Certificate II in Computer Assembly and Repair course and is doing extremely well.

Courtney is positive about what her future holds and looks forward to a bright future.

Bronwyn Trebilcock

Bronwyn Trebilcock,  ACE student
Expand iconRead Bronwyn's full story.

The Building Family Opportunities program referred Bronwyn to the Barkuma 'Pathways to Work' ACE program at Uniting SA in January 2018.

Bronwyn had not worked for 6 years and her job seeking confidence was low, with Bronwyn sure that her job seeking methods were not going to bring her success. Participation in the ACE program gave Bronwyn the confidence she needed. Trainers confirmed that Bronwyn’s job search methods and tools were sound. She realised during the course that she could be of assistance to other learners, openly sharing her knowledge and providing encouragement and support to other learners throughout the program.

"This ACE course has re-affirmed me. I have realised that I can confidently ‘be myself’ when applying for jobs. I have the confidence to express myself more openly in job applications and interviews".

After a very detailed recruitment process, Bronwyn has been offered work in a call centre, beginning with 5 weeks full time introductory training. She has the confidence to continue her learning in any opportunity that may arise in the future.

Thi Cuc Sanh Vo (Cuc)

Thi Cuc Sanh Vo,  ACE student
Expand iconRead Cuc's full story.

Cuc has lived in Australia for over 30 years.

She was a devoted wife and mother until her much loved husband died suddenly six months ago. Cuc’s husband was the head of her family and spoke English for her during their time in Australia. With her husband’s sudden passing, Cuc found herself isolated and alone, feeling extremely lost with her limited English skills.

Cuc’s children brought her to the Junction as she was becoming depressed, and did not want to leave the house. She joined a basic English class at the Junction which she loves and has thrived in. Cuc is working hard to improve her English, regularly studying the materials given to her at home and she has made many new friends from various nationalities.

Cuc loves to tell her story and is a very inspiring woman. She is interested in undertaking further study and is looking to join other classes such as Basic Computing in the near future.

Audrey Hoo

Audrey Hoo,  ACE student
Expand iconRead Audrey's story.

Audrey found the ACE Program at the Pooraka Farm Community Centre through marketing in the local community in 2013.

Audrey is a migrant from Indonesia who had experienced failure in her earlier educational experiences. Although she is an extremely intelligent woman, she underestimated her abilities and wasn’t confident about undertaking further study. Trainers recognised straight away that Audrey was an engaged and eager learner who was always questioning and wanting to understand all aspects of what she was learning. Audrey was a natural teacher, with trainers commenting on her ability with children, however teaching was out of her grasp due to personal and economic reasons.

Following her initial training, Audrey started volunteering at the centre, until an opportunity for paid crèche work became available. Audrey adored this work and this prompted her decision to undertake the Certificate 4 in Child Care. She found this extremely fulfilling and knew this study would allow her to find permanent paid work.

Audrey has recently started working as a School Services Officer at Paralowie R-12. Audrey’s story is a great example of persistence and dedication. Audrey’s journey didn’t happen quickly but with confidence in herself and her involvement in the centre, she was able to keep on moving forward to her goal. Teaching is still not an option for Audrey in her current situation, but for now she is loving being in the school and earning an income to help support her family.

Belinda Goold,  ACE student

Belinda Goold 

Expand iconRead Belinda story.

Belinda discovered the Pooraka Farm Community Centre through social media marketing.

Belinda, a mother of 4, became involved in the Introduction to Aged and Disability program at the end of 2015. She had lost her father a year earlier and was coping with significant anxiety and panic attacks. Additionally, she had suffered a back injury and was unable to work at this time. Throughout all of this, she still turned up to class every week. She undertook a Basic Home Maintenance program before deciding to attempt completing her previously commenced youth work certificate.

After several bad experiences with bullying at her youth work placement, she found herself lacking confidence and unsure what to do next. The Community Centre was looking for a crèche worker at this time and Belinda’s gentle and caring nature made her perfect for this role. Belinda jumped at the chance and has now been working at the crèche for over a year. The parents and children absolutely adore her for her passion, and ability to understand each child’s unique personality.

Belinda is now considering a Certificate 4 in Child Care and when the time is right for her and her family, she will undertake this study. In the meantime, Belinda is a valued staff member at the Centre and wonderful example of the impact of the ACE program.

Andrew Popescu, ACE student

Andrew Popescu 

Expand iconRead Andrew's story.

Andrew first connected with the ACE Program at the Pooraka Farm Community Centre through marketing at his children’s school.

Andrew had worked at The Advertiser for over 24 years as a graphic designer until, due to economic changes within the company, he was made redundant. Not feeling confident about future work and frustrated and unsure about what to do next, Andrew enrolled in the Introduction to Transport and Logistics program. It soon became very evident that Andrew was extremely bright and had excellent emotional intelligence. During the program, Andrew was actively involved, supporting other students, and helping out trainers. 

After completing the program, Andrew was asked to become a mentor in the MS Office program at Pooraka Farm Community Centre due to his great tech skills and passion for learning. His confidence rapidly grew and he became a great resource for students in the program. 

Andrew is now a committee member at the Pooraka Farm Community Centre, uses his graphic design skills within the Centre, and he has recently started working as a School Services Officer at the Adelaide North Special School. Additionally, his free-lance graphic design work has picked up. Andrew is now busy working, using his vast range of skills and doing what he loves. 

Jodi Daniels, ACE student

Jodi Daniels 

Expand iconRead Jodi's story.

Jodi connected with the ACE program at Pooraka Farm Community Centre through a personal friend in 2017 when she commenced the Introduction to Women’s Studies program. She was studying a Certificate 4 in Mental Health online and coping with significant anxiety. Jodi was a student who was enthusiastic, actively engaged and always willing to stand up and speak for herself. She was passionate about mental health and making a difference in the field. 

Jodi explained to trainers that she had come into the program to see if she could cope with being in a classroom to learn and that she had not felt confident in doing this prior to commencing the program. As the program progressed, it became evident that Jodi’s confidence was increasing and she was finding her power and purpose. 

Jodi’s energy and commitment knows no bounds! She is currently completing her Certificate 4 in Mental Health, undertaking a Diploma in Nursing and working as a School Support Officer fulltime at Salisbury Heights Primary School. She is happy, enjoying life, managing her time and health and looking after her family, whilst still managing to juggle work and study commitments. 

The girl who initially walked into the Community Centre is transformed. Jodi aims to work in youth mental health nursing long term and looks forward to a successful career. 

Jintana Wesemann, ACE student

Jintana Wesemann 

Expand iconRead Jintana's story.

Jintana connected with the ESL Program at the Encounter Centre in Victor Harbor 16 months ago. She attended to a small event held to promote Harmony Week at the Victor Harbor Civic Centre/Library and was an enthusiastic participant engaging with passers-by from the very beginning.

Jintana has lived in Australia for 18 months, with her husband and young son. During a writing activity in the program, Jintana shared her learning experience - "I have attended ESL classes at the Encounter Centre for about 16 months. I want to improve my English skills so that I can get a job. It is fun learning here, and I have made a lot of friends. The tutors are very nice and friendly, and my English is getting a lot better. I can now speak English more fluently. In the future I want to apply for a job."

Jintana has improved immensely since her first class, and the program has had a profound impact on her. She can now speak and understand English better, resulting in her feeling less isolated. Jintana has made many friendships and social connections that support her in her new home.

Jintana plans to continue to improve her English language skills and complete a food handling course, with the aim of working in the hospitality industry.

Somsong Wale, ACE student

Somsong Wale 

Expand iconRead 's story.

Somsong is originally from Thailand, or as she calls it "the 'land of smiles". She has lived in Australia for three and a half years with her husband in Victor Harbor. Somsong began ESL classes at the Encounter Centre two years ago, after being referred to the program by a friend.

Somsong left school in Thailand when she was only 12 years old to work on a farm with her family, and consequently had little formal education. Since commencing the ESL program she has developed her English skills to a level where she feels confident and has become more actively involved in the community where she lives. She is learning to drive after successfully gaining her learners permit, and volunteers both in a local charity shop, and in the Encounter Centre kitchen. She is a happy and generous person who thinks of others and gives support and encouragement to her fellow students. Somsong is also one of the Encounter Centre’s strongest advocates, promoting the program to anyone she meets that may be a new migrant to the area.

In her own words, Somsong writes… "I came to English classes at Encounter Centre two years ago. I have learnt many things. English classes helped me very much. Now I use English in my daily life better. I never thought I could do it.

Now I understand people much better and I can speak English more clearly and I feel more comfortable. English classes are enjoyable, as is meeting the lovely people. Thank you for the great opportunity" – Somsong.

Somsong is determined to get her drivers’ license so that she can share the driving with her husband who has recently experienced some ill health. She loves the volunteer work that she does and will continue to do this - taking on more responsibility and learning new skills. She is now beginning to learn basic computer skills and plans to continue to develop her English language skills.

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