A key to the success of the Clemente program is the involvement of volunteers who help students with their learning. These volunteers are known as learning partners to reflect the fact that both the students and the volunteers learn from their experiences and interactions with one another.

Clemente learning partners come from a variety of education, business and community backgrounds. Some are retired while others are part of workplace volunteering programs.

Learning partners bring with them diverse, rich life and career experiences and skills such as:

  • computer literacy to assist students with internet research and formatting assignments
  • general research and library skills
  • a university degree
  • readiness to work within the values of the Clemente program
  • the ability to readily develop a rapport with students
  • skills in encouraging personal development in others
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • an ability to interact and deal sensitively with students from different backgrounds
  • commitment to maintaining professional boundaries with staff and students
  • ability to hold and maintain a Working with Vulnerable Person check (volunteer).

Learning partners don’t need to be experts in the subject areas. The key responsibilities of learning partners are to:

  • provide the students with support, encouragement and study skill assistance (e.g. organisational skills, library and Internet research, essay writing, computing skills)
  • maintain privacy, confidentiality and uphold professional boundaries
  • interact sensitively with people from different backgrounds including those experiencing difficult health, social, cultural or financial circumstances.
  • commit to the full semester program (12-14 weeks).

The location of lectures and tutorial support sessions varies across sites. You may work in a community location or in some cases on campus. You may provide in-class support to students and work directly one-on-one with a student.

Most of us have a very scratchy idea of what studying means. Learning partners help us find the right way that suits our individual needs. We may need support by boosting our confidence and encouraging us to stick with it if we feel like giving up. We may need help with skills for essay writing or oral presentations. We may need help with computer skills, or research. Simply we just need your support. None of us are used to studying, it is new and can be frightening. You are a gift beyond measure. 

Clemente student

What do learning partners say?

Hear learning partners share how rewarding it is to provide one-on-one support to Clemente students.

We are not sure the participants realise the significant impact they have on our lives. It has been a privilege to meet each participant and be able to have an insight into their amazing lives and personalities.
Being a learning partner keeps me true to my own lifelong learning journey. It is a gift.

My role is to provide help and encouragement to the students. This might mean helping them interpret a question, discussing their assignments, reading assignments, pointing out that they haven’t answered the question, spelling needs to be checked or a reminder to add references or acknowledge work quoted. Sometimes it is just providing a listening ear over a coffee. A student will often email or phone at home me when a problem arises with their assignments.

The time I give to the Clemente students I find very rewarding. I get far more from them than I give to them.

Hopefully the program has empowered participants to see the future as an endless number of possibilities awaiting them as this is the outlook the participants have inspired in us. I have enjoyed discovering the wonderful personalities of all the participants who have made me laugh and cry since I met them and provided me with strength and optimism.

Beth and I started our journey as Learning Partners in the Clemente Program in 2018. Both of us saw this as a wonderful opportunity to help and share our skills. We both had teaching experience, however Beth hadn’t taught for 45 years and was nervous and apprehensive.

The entire experience has been exciting and enriching. Doing the readings each week, whether they be on literature or philosophy has led to many interesting discussions both inside and outside the classes. We soon learnt that the students all had a variety of needs ranging from help with reading over responses, analysing questions, basic computer literacy, encouragement to keep going, reminders to meet deadlines, discussions of their next step in their studies or career.

We both discovered that many of the students were extremely bright and to see them presenting excellently researched philosophical work to their fellow students from the front of the class and performing Anthony and Cleopatra were such memorable experiences.

The benefits of doing this are numerous for me: self awareness, experiencing greater compassion and connectedness with a part of our community from which we are often most separate. I continue to gain insight into lifestyles, life experiences and circumstances of people I would otherwise never have the opportunity to understand or learn from. I am more optimistic about positive changes being possible in the world.

To get involved contact the Clemente team

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About Clemente Australia

Clemente aims to break the cycle of poverty, inequality and social injustice for people experiencing complex life challenges through access to university education.

Learn more

Impacts and benefits of Clemente

Participation in Clemente comes with a wide range of benefits for all involved. Hear first-hand how Clemente has changed the lives of students and volunteers.

Learn more

Partner with Clemente

Clemente is built on partnerships. ACU invites organisations to support Clemente through contributions of time, talent, influence, resources or funds.

Learn more

Contact the Clemente team

If you would like to learn more about Clemente, or find out how to get involved, you can reach out to our friendly Clemente Australia team by email or phone.

Contact Clemente

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