The Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) Practice Award recognises innovation and excellence by an individual involved in improving LLN skills in an educational, community or workplace context.
Freya Merrick dos Santos has qualifications in training and assessment and education and is employed by the Yarraville Community Centre in Greater Melbourne, Victoria, where she works with migrants, refugees and internationally displaced people, assisting them to develop skills that will allow them to more actively participate in their community. Freya was recognised for her outstanding efforts in vocational education and training (VET) at the 2014 Australian Training Awards where she won the Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award.
"Receiving this award is fantastic recognition of the quality of training that can be provided in the community sector and of the value of teaching through authentic experiences in workplaces and communities," Freya said.
"The Australian Training Awards really highlight the possibilities in the VET sector and inspire so many people with stories of people achieving great things."
Freya’s programme allows students to learn with real-life materials, respond to real situations and develop digital literacy. The programme includes workshops on employability skills and voluntary work experience in the community, allowing her students the opportunity to participate in a range of group activities, including tree planting, running a fundraising sweet stall, assisting in the set-up of a circus and working at a community-based organisation, Foodbank.
Freya works with students, individually, to identify their goals and pathways to reach these. A number of her students have been accepted to study certificate courses.
"I really appreciate the teaching partnerships I’ve been able to develop with community based organisations such as Foodbank and Wesley Mission. The opportunities to work with, and learn from, such a diverse range of people, both in Melbourne and East Timor, and to see them achieve exciting things," Freya said.
When not working with her students, Freya mentors other educators at Yarraville and runs professional development workshops.