Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Thirteen students have completed the University of Newcastle's enabling program Open Foundation this year with the assistance of the Uni4You program.

Staff and students of the Uni4You program

Facilitated by the Family Action Centre, Uni4You was established in 2013 to provide extensive support to adults underrepresented in the university population from the Raymond Terrace, Cessnock, Northlakes and Mayfield communities.

For Louise Prater, going to university was always in the back of her mind but as a busy mother of three she doubted her capability of returning to study. 

"The Uni4you staff were the only reason I even began Open Foundation. Without them I would have still held the belief that I'm too old to start and not smart enough after having been away from study for 12 years," said Ms Prater.

"The preparation course they ran in the lead up was amazing. It gave me a little more confidence in my skills with math and writing and made everything a little less scary," she added.

Despite encountering and overcoming some obstacles throughout Open Foundation, Ms Prater has applied for a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics for next year at the University of Newcastle.

"I feel like a whole different person. I'm not 'just a mum' anymore and the experience has had a positive effect on my whole family," explained Ms Prater.

Program Coordinator Vicki James says Uni4You uses the extensive outreach experience of the Family Action Centre to support adults who have never identified tertiary study as an option or have previously attempted but not succeeded due to socio-environmental factors. 

"Uni4You came about due to demand from community members who had a desire to go to university but needed additional assistance to help prepare and support them through the process," said Ms James.

"It has been a roller coaster year for these students and a brilliant personal achievement to have completed Open Foundation. Many have struggled with personal and family issues throughout the year which could have hampered their study but these thirteen students have displayed resilience, dug deep and completed their study," she added.

A morning tea was held at the end of November to support the students' achievements.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.