Today marks the beginning of Adult Learners Week, and this years theme is “It’s never too late” to remind Australians they can start their education journey at any age.

Speaking to NIRS News, 28-year-old Mirning man Terrence Lennon-Wingfield spoke about his own journey with adult learning.

“It’s been good, I’ve been able to see the improvement of my own skill.

So I guess my adult learning journey, it’s been like a travel of pushing through, I’ve realised to really do this, you got to do this.”

Before completing Certificate One Access to Vocational Pathways at his local Aboriginal college, Terrence’s literacy skills held him back.

He was only able to secure odd jobs in between periods of unemployment as reading text messages, completing job applications, and dealing with paper work was a struggle.

Terrence says it was difficult getting a quality education when he was younger.

“I grew up with people who were “run amoks” you could say, and people who like to steal things.

When you grow up in that environment it’s normal to your people, and so when your kids don’t know how to read and write, they don’t really get encouraged.

And when I was going to school food was one part, when you don’t have food in your stomach it’s hard to learn in class.

I know like 10 people from home who have the same story as I do , who don’t know how to read and write back home.

It’s the environment you grow up in, but it’s also you’ve got to get taught.

I was never taught to go home and read a book it was never my interest to go home and read a book , that was not normal for someone to go do that.”

But last year Terrence enrolled in the University of Adelaide’s pastoral program.

He is now doing theological studies in Sydney and supporting his community as a youth pastor at the Living Water Community Church in Redfern.

Terrence says for people who are in a similar position to what he was in a couple years ago, the best thing they can do is ask for help.

“For those who really want to it, they’ve got to go talk.

My biggest issue back then was I didn’t want to ask for help because I felt like people really didn’t listen, but people were listening.”

The biggest step for them is to ask for help and once they get to that course just do it, push through because there’s going to be moments were you don’t want to do it.”

For more information on adult learning pathways visit Adult Learning Australia’s website here:

Listen to the full interview with Terrence here.

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