Free literacy training for Sunshine Coast volunteers

Tutor, Rita Kenny is a former primary school teacher.
Tutor, Rita Kenny is a former primary school teacher.

Did you know Sunshine Coast Council offers free adult literacy training courses for volunteer tutors?

Community Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said for the last 27 years, Sunshine Coast Libraries have provided free literacy training to adults, with the dedicated assistance of trained volunteers.

"For many years, the Adult Literacy Program has assisted a large number of adults between 15 and 76 years of age in our community who have difficulty with every day, functional literacy," Cr McKay said. "They include school leavers, parents, grandparents, workers, unemployed, and people with physical/intellectual disabilities, migrants and many others who, for a variety of reasons, may be prohibited from participating in activities that involve reading, writing, speaking, numeracy and basic digital literacy."

"The adult literacy staff assess the prospective learner's needs, interests, skills and goals to enable successful matching with a volunteer tutor. The tutor then works on an individual program with the student, for approximately three hours a week, in a library or a community venue. "Alternatively, students may join a weekly literacy class at Beerwah, Caloundra, Kawana, Maroochydore or Kawana libraries and be supported by a tutor in the classroom. Some tutors also assist with our Conversation Circles."

One volunteer who has been making a difference and reaping the rewards of tutoring since 2014 is Rita Kenny who retired in 2013 and was looking for something useful to do with her time. Rita, a former primary school teacher, said one of the problems with retiring is sometimes not feeling as busy and useful as you have been. "I took the adult literacy course in the first half of 2014 and began volunteering after I graduated at the end of that year," she said. "I work with people from non-English speaking backgrounds, both in conversation classes and one-on-one. "

"Students enjoy coming to conversation classes to improve their communication in English, to learn about Australian customs and for social interaction. "One-on-one classes focus on both oral and written communication. It is very rewarding as tutors work with the special needs of one student and can help that student to reach personal goals."

"It is satisfying to know you are helping others using the expertise acquired from the training which is very thorough and undertaken by teachers who are experienced, enthusiastic and professional. "Tutors receive ongoing support from the staff with students and programing lessons. Students, tutors and staff treat each other respectfully. I really enjoy being part of the program."

The next Adult Literacy Volunteer Tutors course starts on Tuesday, March 1 and includes a weekly three-hour session over a 10-week period. Closing date for applications is February 7.

For more information, head to council's library website, call the Adult Literacy team on 5499 5414 or email

Topics:  literacy sunshine coast volunteer

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