New skills, new future for Darren

Darren left school and got a job at 17 in the construction industry, but back surgery forced him to rethink his career.  He decided to retrain and went to TAFE to study for a Community Services Certificate 4. But he didn’t know how to use computers and he had to hand write everything. He looked for help in learning basic computer skills inside and outside of TAFE with no success until he approached Read Write Now.

He began learning Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications along with using the keyboard. At every stage Darren practised and was eager to learn more. His confidence and ability with new technology grew exponentially. After completing his Community Services Certificate 4 Darren began working as a Support Worker in a drug and alcohol detoxification centre but quickly realised that he could only help his clients so far in his role as a Support Worker. He decided he wanted to become a counsellor but discovered he needed to have a degree to do this.

Darren is passionate about helping people who have faced the same problems in life that he has overcome, and this added to his drive and commitment to learn. He researched, applied and was accepted into an university undergraduate course. To do this, he challenged himself and succeeded in passing two online reading and writing assessments – something that he would have never considered possible just a short time before. The university course has components that the Darren has had to learn from scratch (including academic research, essay writing, study skills, exams, online learning and using new software). His literacy and computing skills improved with every assignment, and he maintains a wonderful attitude to learning.

At all stages, Darren did everything in his power to learn, seek help and persist. It was absolutely amazing to see the difference in the Darren’s skills over a short period of time – from being unsure of how to use technology to being a competent university student structuring complex essay responses and using technology with confidence and purpose.

Darren has shown tremendous determination, commitment and success in juggling a full-time study, work, volunteering with his personal life. In addition to academic learning, he has also had to learn and implement new life skills such as time management and team work. Darren is an outstanding adult learner who has shown initiative, determination, persistence and no fear of tackling the unknown.

With support from his Read Write Now tutor Darren has been able to get the encouragement and learn the skills needed to study for a degree. His improved writing, vocabulary and computing skills have allowed him to study successfully at a tertiary level, and will remain with him for the rest of his life.

Darren has successfully passed every unit he has studied to date and is now in the final year of his undergraduate degree.

The impact of adult education on the Darren’s life has been immense. He now feels he is able to give back to the community and live a purposeful life. He is passionate about helping those in need feels that he will have the skills and qualifications to do this in an effective and successful way.

Darren would like to complete his undergraduate degree and possibly a Masters in Counselling in the future. This scholarship will help provide him with funds and time to focus on completing his degree as opposed to having to work as many hours to support himself while studying. Darren is interested in future learning pathways including Homelessness, Youth Work, and Mental Health.

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