The impact of further learning with WEA students.
We partnered with WEA Adult Learning to undertake a project where we photographed and interviewed WEA students. From our conversations came these short stories. The time spent with the students revealed interesting and unexpected motivations for studying at WEA. Thanks to the candour of our subjects, we were challenged to think about how further learning and a constant commitment to discovery might benefit our own lives.
I’ve always loved learning, learning new things, improving myself in every way that I can. I was discussing WEA with Dad. Mum and Dad did a couple’s massage course at WEA. I first did a mind mapping course with Mum at WEA when I was in year 12. Mum brought it up and she was like, hey, interested in doing this? And I thought, mind mapping? Why not. Because I’d heard good things about it. I hadn’t really done much mind mapping, but I thought yeah, let’s do it. It was fun and interesting doing that with mum. Then I went on to Developing a Digital Marketing Plan. I was a bit sceptical, I was thinking is this going to be relevant to me? But it turned out to be a beneficial course. I think because I’ve done a lot of tertiary education, people are surprised I do WEA courses. But it’s a natural fit and the courses are really good value. In the next five years I hope to be studying Dentistry in Perth or Melbourne. I usually do smile with my teeth. You see so often, people not smiling with teeth, and I feel like oh, I wish you’d put your teeth out there.
I came from the north of England many, many years ago. I chose Adelaide because I thought it’d be easy to make friends in a smaller place. So, I arrived and loved it from the moment I came. I felt I was on holiday because the sky was so vast and the sun was shining. I had no element of home-sickness. Not the slightest. The thing is, I had no family there. I had no family here either but I just felt it was for me. I came to find WEA because I was always keen on walking and I looked around for walking clubs and discovered that WEA had one, so I joined and walked with them for about 30 years which was wonderful. I made lots of friends and then of course, the brochures started coming and I started doing courses. I’ve been doing courses for about 40 years now. I suppose you could say it is a way of life almost. I counted up, I’ve done about 38 courses. Some of them were term courses and some were just day courses and things like travel talks. I’ve done French, Italian, Astronomy, and I’ve done day demonstration cooking courses. I’m not very keen on cooking, but I like eating. I did the recorder, which I kept up for a while and then got tired of practicing. Then I did History, Tap Dancing, Zen, Wine Appreciation, Acting. I’ve done two holidays with WEA. One to Italy with Gene Vecchio and the other one with Dominique Lukehurst to France. The acting course, I really loved that but that was a long, long, long time ago. It was just so full of amusement, you know. I laughed and laughed because we had to do these improvisation things and it was hysterical, really. The tap dancing was fun as well, but I think I did two terms of that and then I decided my memory wasn’t good enough to remember the sequences. All these different courses I’ve done, I suppose you could say they opened my mind to various aspects of life. Because you can go along in a straight line but there’s a whole lot out there, like Astronomy. It fascinates me, you know, what’s out there and what we’re going to discover. I think that’s really what it’s all about. Opening your mind to the world. Because there’s so much to learn, so much to discover.
I discovered WEA because my friend heard I wanted to lose weight at the time and they said the WEA Tri Fitness class is very good. I’ve been coming here, about maybe three years now with our instructor Letitia. Letitia is a very nice person. The results are good as well. If something’s not right, she tries to correct you the right way. She is very strict, but also very kind. The people here, they are very nice, very friendly, I like it. That’s why I continue. I trust Letitia and these classes make me feel good about myself.
I’m 29, have two amazing kids, and work part time as a registered conveyancer. About a year ago, I developed a real passion for the environment. I started my own business called Love Earth Products, making my all-natural products while I was on maternity leave. I’ve always, always loved the environment and been big on recycling, but when I watched The War on Waste, it was such an eye opener to how much waste we’re creating, and so rapidly. From there I adapted our own lifestyle to cut down on everyday waste, cling wrap, produce bags, baby wipes, that was a big one for me, they’re just so bad for the environment. Now I make my own baby wipes and all purpose wipes out of paper towel. I discovered essential oils from the Make Your Own Aromatherapy Products WEA course and I’ve added them to a lot of my products. Then I did Developing a Digital Marketing Plan. I didn’t even know what a domain was before I did that, I just had a Facebook page for my business, but I knew I needed to do something to make it more professional. While I was doing the course, I was building my website in the background, so my teacher helped me tweak it and give me ideas. I’m about to do an Olive Oil and Goats Milk Soap course to expand my product range and my Dad’s just got beehives down at his place, and he’s going to do a beekeeping course, he’s taking my brother to that. Being a working mum and business owner is really busy, but then I get to spend my days making products and spending time with my kids. I’ve also got a very good husband, I can’t leave him out of it, he helps me a lot, he’s really good with the kids. To have that flexibility, it’s amazing. The WEA has really helped me gain the skills to grow my business affordably while having fun at the same time.
The WEA offers courses on a variety of levels across a diverse range of subjects, from computing to Yoga! The WEA caters for a broad cross-section of the community, providing adults of all ages with learning opportunities for both vocational and personal enrichment. The WEA publishes five Course Guides each year. All course details appear on their website, which is accessible HERE.