Clemente program offers a second chance at education

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Home > Media > News > Clemente program offers a second chance at education
Clemente program offers a second chance at education

Forty three year old mother Ratchanee Chainuwong started her Liberal Studies Certificate with the Clemente program, because she was concerned about finding full time work in her field of nursing and lacked confidence in her English language skills.

Now, Mrs Chainuwong, who has completed a term with Clemente, a University course which she is sitting for free over two years, is interested in a number of other issues as well.

“I’m particularly interested in our unit on Aboriginal history, which is something I didn’t know much about until now,” she said.

“The course itself is an eye-opening experience, it’s not just something you can go and read in the newspaper, and normally people don’t talk about this kind of thing.”

“Next term we’ll be studying sociology and arts, and this will broaden my knowledge and skills.”

Clemente Australia is a nation-wide program which seeks to ‘break the cycle’ of endemic social inequity, injustice or poverty for those facing disadvantage.

The program, which recently started in Hobart, employs a network of 15 community agencies, using facilities provided by Guilford Young College, student selection help from the Edmund Rice Centre in Moonah and volunteer support from University of Tasmania lecturer Dr Terry Young and 20 learning mentors who help the students on a one-on-one basis.

The program also receives financial support from the Archdiocese of Hobart, Rotary Hobart and Hobart City Council.

Dallas Williams joined the program as a volunteer organiser after a long career in the Education Department as a public servant.

“It would have been very easy to retire after 44 years in education, but I have found the last 12 weeks meeting with these people, some of the most emotionally rewarding that I’ve ever experienced in any context,” Mr Williams said.

The program’s aim of assisting those who have suffered disadvantage to find an educational pathway, particularly appealed to Mr Williams who cited homelessness, domestic violence and the difficulties of immigration, as just some of the many challenges that course participants may face.

“Particularly for those (students) who haven’t been engaged in education over the past few years, this is a huge step,” he said.

“It shows a huge amount of character. Mrs Chainuwong, however, feels that the rewards are all hers.

“I feel honoured and grateful to be able to attend and be given an opportunity to be a part of this course,” she said.

“It’s a really great opportunity for me.”