Lifelong learning awards

Over 50 lifelong learners celebrated their achievements at Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning’s annual Award Ceremony on Friday 15th March.

The ceremony is a formal occasion where students are recognised for their academic achievements in a variety of subject areas including: Humanities, Computer Studies, Science and Environment, Business Studies, Social Studies and Languages.

Foundation Certificates, Certificates and Diplomas of Higher Education, European language qualifications and departmental prizes were among the awards presented by special guest Professor Patricia Price, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Experience and Academic.

Alex Lamprey, who received a Foundation Certificate in Astronomy, said: “I had a great time at the Award Ceremony. My Foundation in Astronomy certificate is much more than just a handsome piece of paper. It’s a very welcome “pat on the back” and a real vindication of all my hard work, highs, lows and narrowly met deadlines! The night was also a great opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from diverse fields.”

People from many walks of life choose to study at the Centre for Lifelong Learning every year, even Cardiff University professors. This year the Centre was pleased to welcome Cardiff University’s Professor Paul Atkinson who was awarded his Certificate of Higher Education in Italian.

Professor Atkinson said: “I normally attend University ceremonies as a presenter, but this year I was on the receiving end. I am a firm believer in continuing education, having completed a distance-learning BA in opera studies in my fifties, and having also studied Modern Greek for several years. I do think that as far as possible teachers in universities ought to be students too. Struggling to get essays in on time, preparing for examinations and summoning the nerve to talk in class are salutary reminders of what it is like to be a student. I was humbled to meet people for whom LEARN has provided a route into a degree at Cardiff, and to be reminded that for some people the opportunity to become a student is a very precious one.”

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Launch of the Goethe-Institut exams at Cardiff

Co-Dean of Lifelong Learning and foreign language specialist, Dr Catherine Chabert said, “This new European partnership is a welcome addition to our port-folio of international language qualifications which currently includes French, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish. From June, anyone wanting to progress their German language skills can now take the Goethe-Institut exams at Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning”.

By successfully passing the exams, students gain internationally recognised qualifications that correspond to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and range from A1 for beginners to C2 for language skills at the highest level.

The Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning is the first language provider in Wales to be accredited by the Goethe-Institut to conduct their exams. To celebrate this, Director of Educational Links at London’s Goethe-Institut, Karl Pfeiffer, visited Cardiff on Thursday 7 March to formally launch the partnership.

Karl Pfeiffer said: “The Goethe-Institut is pleased that we can bring our popular international examinations to Wales for the first time.”

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Guests at the launch, including Helga Rother-Simmonds, Honorary Consul for Germany in Wales, Ceri James, Director of CILT Cymru and the Centre’s German language students got to practice their German conversation skills together over some authentic German refreshments.

Current students are already busy preparing for their new exams and there are more courses starting in April for anyone interested in doing some last minute preparation. The range of German language courses that the Centre offers throughout the year, from absolute beginners to very advanced levels, will provide ample opportunity for more students to prepare for the exams in 2014.

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Important information regarding car parking

To all students that have classes in the John Percival Building (formerly Humanities Building). The Main Colum Drive car park will be closed from Monday 18th March for 2 weeks. The car park will re-open on 2nd or 3rd April but will have limited spaces. However, more parking spaces can be found in the Cassim car park by the Aberconway Building. To get to the Cassim car park, turn left when you would usually turn right to head towards Main Colum Drive car park.

British Empire Medal for student

British Empire medal

Lifelong learning student Eileen Younghusband, 91, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her services and commitment to lifelong learning.

Eileen has been a student at Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning for over 17 years studying Creative Writing and Spanish.

After completing a Diploma in Higher Education at the Centre, Eileen went on to study towards a degree with the Open University, which she gained at the age of 87.

After graduation, and with help from the Centre, Eileen published her first book Not an Ordinary Life, and she soon followed it up with her second work titled One Woman’s War. She is now in the process of writing a third which will be called Men I have known.

Eileen said: “I am completely surprised. I’d never anticipated that at 91 I would even be considered for anything like this. Older people who are able to continue learning really extend their life I consider. It’s no good just sitting back and doing nothing.”

“I cannot speak too highly of the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning. The encouragement and support which I have encountered throughout the Centre both from tutors and support staff has been magnificent. Furthermore, I have managed to meet and make friends with so many interesting people. Without doubt, my quality of life has been improved by taking part in Lifelong Learning programmes.”

Among those that nominated her for the British Empire Medal is Dr David Wyatt. He said: “Anyone who has met Eileen knows that she is a very special person. Her sharp intellect, rapier wit, and well honed social skills remain undiminished by time. We all owe her a huge debt of gratitude for her contribution to Britain’s war effort. Moreover, in later life, her studies have provided her with the skills bring that important story, of the unsung girls from the RAF’s filter room, to the attention of the public. She has done this through her remarkable books, tireless presentations to schools and community groups and countless media appearances. Eileen is a remarkable communicator and inspiration, not just to adult learners, but to us all. It is a great privilege to have campaigned and worked with her over the last four years and to have played some small part in her receiving this award.”

Eileen is just one of almost 4,000 students that study at the Centre each year. The Centre offers a range of courses at a variety of levels for the general public – and not just in the subject area of Creative Writing and Spanish. You do not need lots of qualifications to study at the Centre, just an interest in a subject and a willingness to explore it in the company of others. Find out more online at cardiff.ac.uk/learn.