Sharlene first engaged with Tamworth Community College in late 2020 when she enrolled into a Certificate I in Access to Vocational Pathways, with a goal of improving her reading and writing skills. Sharlene spent one-on-one time with trainer, Cheryl, each week. This one-on-one time helped Cheryl identify that Sharlene had a learning disability which had been unsupported for most of her life.
Tamworth Community College developed a program to support Sharlene’s learning in a stepped approach with small and achievable outcomes. Sharlene completed her course in May 2021 and during this time also furthered her studies with the College, obtaining her Food Handling certificate in February 2021.
During her time with Tamworth Community College, Sharlene was also working on obtaining her Learner Licence. Sharlene was successful in doing so and identified that her newly acquired reading and writing skills assisted her with this. Sharlene also uses these skills towards her voluntary employment at Liberty Foodcare.
Sharlene has overcome both personal and professional barriers to enter into adult learning with Tamworth Community College. She has shone as a learner and in many ways the connection with the College staff, from the administration team, to her trainer and with senior staff has been a real boost to her self-confidence.
Cheryl has described her as ‘motivated, determined, committed and a delight to work with in the classroom’. Sharlene was initially embarrassed about being 48 years old and being barely able to read. But her charismatic personality allowed Cheryl to build a rapport with her, laugh with her, and learn with her. Sharlene quickly saw the improvement.
Sharlene also used her own initiative to become a member of her local library, borrowing books appropriate for the age level of her reading. She was very excited to bring these to the College to show Cheryl, and to read them to her each week.
The benefits to Sharlene’s life have not only been educational but have also had a significant social impact as well.
Firstly, Sharlene completed 5 units from the Foundation Skills Training Package then went on earlier this year to complete the Certificate I in Access to Vocational Pathways. During this time, she also (after much practice) gained her Learner’s Permit, which Sharlene was extremely proud of. The College ‘celebrated’ both of her achievements with her as it has meant so much to her personally.
Sharlene volunteers at the Liberty Food Bank in Tamworth. This has built her confidence and with support from other employees, she was able to use the skills and knowledge she gained from her learning at Tamworth Community College. Sharlene has just recently been employed casually with K Mart, but is still actively seeking other employment as well.
Sharlene would like to return to the Tamworth Community College to complete some units from the Certificate II in Workplace Skills and Certificate I in Skills for Vocational Pathways.