Lifelong learners awarded

Gwyneth Jones, Lifelong Learning Student of the Year, receiving the award from Professor John Grattan, Pro Vice-Chancellor

Gwyneth Jones, Lifelong Learning Student of the Year, receiving the award from Professor John Grattan, Pro Vice-Chancellor

02 November 2012

A student who has been a lifelong learner for 22 years and a young student with autism were among the lifelong learners who recently received awards in a special ceremony at the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at Aberystwyth University.

Gwyneth Jones and Jill Thaller were both presented with the Lifelong Learning Student of the Year award, while Jeff Smith was awarded Welsh Learner of the Year and Blanca García-Lisbona was presented with the Lifelong Learning Tutor of the Year award.

Gwyneth Jones from Llangrannog, who has been a student for 22 years, left school at the age of 15 and returned to education later on in life. She is currently taking a course in Russian History with the Open University.

She explains, “It’s a great privilege to win this award. I’m very grateful to the University for giving me the opportunity to learn for 22 years. I am especially grateful to my tutor, Nicole, for teaching the subject with such enthusiasm and humour.”

Jill Thaller, an art student from Cardigan, has made exceptional progress over the last four years and has been especially supportive of other students. She originally came to the Lifelong Learning courses through the University’s widening access programme and has taken a number of art courses, including sculpture.

Jeff Smith is a full time Mathematics student at Aberystwyth University. Originally from the south of England, Jeff has immersed himself in Welsh life in Aberystwyth and is even taking Mathematics modules through the medium of Welsh. His feat is even greater as he is autistic.  

“Winning this award is a great privilege for me, and a special milestone as I move forward on the journey to become fluent in Welsh,” says Jeff.  

The Tutor of the Year award was presented to Blanca García-Lisbona, a Spanish tutor who was nominated by students for exceptional work.

Blanca, originally from Spain, has been praised for her ability to teach fun and interesting courses whilst immersing the students in the language and culture of Spain and South America. “It is very exciting to know that the students have had a good learning experience with me, and that they have had fun while learning,” she explains.  

The ceremony also celebrated the success of 27 students who had reached special milestones in their learning journey.

They included Welsh learners who had been successful in WJEC’s ‘Use of Welsh’ examinations at Intermediate, Advanced and Proficiency levels, and students who were awarded further and higher education certificates in Genealogy, Modern languages, Field ecology, Creative writing, and Art and design.

The awards were presented by Professor Tim Woods, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor John Grattan, Pro Vice Chancellor, Rebecca Davies, Pro Vice Chancellor, Dr Martin Wilding, Deputy Dean of Science, and Dr Malcolm Thomas, Director of the School of Education and Lifelong Learning.