Valé Cheryl Wiltshire

Cheryl Wiltshire

It is with the greatest sadness that we inform you that our friend and colleague Cheryl Wiltshire passed away as a result of a car crash on Thursday 14 January. We offer our deepest condolences to the family that Cheryl leaves behind.

Cheryl was such a person that her sphere of influence extended well beyond her immediate and extended families. Cheryl was a long-standing member of both WAALC and ACAL. Over the last two decades with WAALC she was a leader and a mentor, taking on formal roles as Secretary, Treasurer and ACAL representative. Whatever the role, Cheryl was indispensible as an organiser – she knew how to get things done and then did them. She wasn’t daunted by complexity: WAALC annual state conferences – and a number of ACAL national conferences – depended on Cheryl’s project management, fund-raising and budgeting skills. As an employee of the WA Department of Training and Workforce Development since 2000, Cheryl took on a central coordinating role in support of the literacy and numeracy teaching network across the VET sector.  Her knowledge, expertise and commitment are irreplaceable. She was a lynchpin and a mainstay. We will not know ourselves without her.

Cheryl started her career as an educator with distance education, tutoring kids in the far North, quite often under trees, as she told it! She entered adult education as a Skillshare coordinator in Derby. She studied for an adult teaching qualification in distance learning mode and was thereafter an advocate for flexible learning. By the late 1990s she had taken on a Program Manager’s role at C Y O’Connor Regional TAFE, before joining the Department of Training in 2000. Cheryl was a passionate advocate for equity.  She understood disadvantage and contributed a great deal to educational services in prisons. She served as an auditor with the Office of the Custodial Inspector.

Cheryl’s role with the Department of Training and Workforce Development was in curriculum maintenance and management and in the provision of specialist training and support to literacy and numeracy staff working in vocational training organisations. She inducted many new teachers and delivered workshops for the CGEA and CAVSS. Many people in the VET sector will have reason to remember Cheryl for her in-depth and wide-ranging knowledge, her accessibility, her commitment and her resourcefulness. She offered practical advice and found solutions to problems of all kinds. She was patient (most of the time) and forbearing. She rolled up her sleeves and helped out.

As a member of WAALC and ACAL, Cheryl was a very active activist. She kept abreast of national and state policy, program and curriculum developments, provided advice on their likely impacts and wrote responses to help guide decision-making. She encouraged others to get involved. She established and maintained networking and communication tools: publications, newsletters, on-line groups. The many conferences she organised were successful networking events. She was someone other people listened to and consulted for her good common sense, her depth of knowledge and her practical capabilities.

A few words like these do not sum up a life well lived. Cheryl was a keen gardener, a resourceful cook, a carer of young children, a reliable colleague, a loyal friend, an incredibly hard worker, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt. She fulfilled many roles. Those of us who worked closely with her over a number of decades feel privileged to have known her and will bear her loss imperfectly.

Need a service for an adult to improve their reading writing or mathematics?

Reading Writing Hotline

Reading Writing Hotline

Call Reading Writing Hotline 1300 655 06 or visit their website.

They have contact details for TAFE classes, free jobseeker programs, individual tutors and can even help with suggestions if you want to study at home on your own.

One of the programs they will offer you is the Western Australia volunteer tutor program called Read Write Now. Sessions are weekly for an hour and a half, one-to-one and free of charge. Volunteer tutors meet with students in a public venue e.g. TAFE campus, public library, community centre etc.

Find out more, including eligibility, at the Read Write Now website. Interested students can ring Read Write Now directly on 1800 018 802.

Keep up to date with adult literacy and numeracy in Australia

Here’s three great places to start are:

Australian Council for Adult Literacy

Australian Council of Adult Literacy

The Australian Council of Adult Literacy (ACAL) publishes a regular free newsletter with news and opinion pieces about adult literacy and numeracy. Add yourself to their email list: you don’t need to be a member of ACAL.

Sign up

FS Teach

FS Teach

FS Teach Facebook page includes quite a lot of news but has the added benefit of hundreds of members across Australia who can answer your questions about foundation skills.

FS Teach Facebook

Reading Writing Hotline

Adult Learning Australia

Adult Learning Australia offers more generic adult education focused information including webinars, a journal and undertakes an advocacy role.