Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Perth, WA:  Mission Australia is urgently seeking volunteer tutors (Learning Partners) to help deliver a groundbreaking education program which helps people change their life through learning.

The Catalyst Clemente program provides disadvantaged adults who would otherwise have no access to further education with the opportunity to complete a 12 week accredited course in humanities at Edith Cowan University (ECU). Completion of four courses will qualify students to receive a University Certificate of Arts and Humanities from ECU.

The students attend weekly lectures delivered by ECU at Wattle House Community Centre in Maddington and can also choose to attend the additional weekly study sessions provided by Mission Australia and the program Learning Partners (LPs).

Catalyst support worker Dorte Dyrbye, said students who take part in the program have typically experienced life challenges such as homelessness, mental health or drug and alcohol issues.

She said Mission Australia has been running the Catalyst Clemente program nationally since 2005, with the Perth program starting at Wattle House in February 2008.

'Right now we have a program scheduled to start at the end of February, but we are desperately short on volunteer LPs to support the students. We also have further student places available," Ms Dyrbye said.

"LPs are critical to the success of students in the Catalyst Clemente program, providing support, encouragement and assistance along the journey. They aren't expected to be 'experts' in the subject, they simply help students to organise their study, use the internet or library and talk through their ideas on essay preparation and tutorials."

LPs are required to volunteer about 1-2 hours per week on Tuesdays from 5pm, for a period of 12 weeks starting at the end of February. The study sessions are held at Wattle House, with an initial training/briefing session to cover issues such as the role of the LP, appropriate boundaries, police clearance requirements and other relevant issues, to be held in the coming weeks.

"The Catalyst philosophy is that humanities subjects have the potential to empower people to think about and reflect on the world in which they live. In turn, this intellectual engagement can promote a broader re-engagement with society and encourage people to take positive action in their own lives," Ms Dyrbye said.

"It encourages students to examine, contemplate and question the world around them, while building their self-esteem. All they need is a desire to learn, the willingness to commit to a 12-week program and a current Health Care Card."

People interested in becoming a Catalyst Clemente LP or student can contact Dorte Dyrbye on 9493 2447, or [email protected]

Contact Profile

John Cooke

P: +61 (8) 9388 0944
M: +61 433 679 780


Mission Australia, Edith Cowan University, ECU, Catalyst Clemente, Dorte Dyrbye, Education, Family Services



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