Safeguarding the future conference - Canberra, 23-24 May 2024

Registrations close at 5:00 pm AEST on Thursday, 16 May

The gift of learning

Annie Lee and her mother, Kathryn, will change the way you think about building skills and knowledge after school and beyond.

Lifelong learning is an essential part of every person’s good life. Learning new ideas and skills is not only good for the soul. The act of learning often opens new doors, especially in our careers. It gives us opportunities to meet like-minded people, so we often make friends and broaden our social circles. Our course of study might lead to a new hobby, a business venture, or even travel. Our pursuit of knowledge or skills enriches so many parts of our lives.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn throughout their lives. But many people assume that people with disability

  • Don’t have the academic capacity, focus, or persistence to engage in lifelong learning
  • Wouldn’t benefit from learning new skills (“What’s the point?”)
  • Would rather be doing leisure activities and other “fun” pursuits, rather than “hard stuff like learning”.

Annie Lee and her mother, Kathryn, will change the way you think about building skills and knowledge after school and beyond. This is regardless of a person’s disability or the obstacles that are often placed in front of people wanting to pursue an interest or learning opportunity.

Annie has learned many new skills since finishing school in 2020. Some skills have been taught by mentors, while others were learned through participation in formal mainstream courses. Most recently, Annie has started a Cert II in Business Studies at the Canberra Institute of Technology. You’ll hear how all these pursuits have given her so much more than new business skills.

And you’ll hear how Kathryn’s commitment to fostering a love of learning has helped to set Annie on an inclusive pathway right from the earliest years.

About the presenters

Annie Lee

Portrait of Annie LeeAnnie Lee is a young Canberran and a recent school leaver. During Year 12, she was actively preparing to work in a local hair salon. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 put an end to this opportunity. In response, her family decided to create a chestnut roasting business.

So that she could work in the business, Annie completed online courses in food handling and learnt money handling skills. She’s continued to develop her skills and has since taken on additional responsibilities in the enterprise.

Annie’s inclusion throughout her school years gave her the confidence to pursue further studies after year 12. She enrolled for a Certificate II in Business Studies at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) in 2021. Her studies have landed her a job as an Administrative Assistant in an Accounting firm.

When she’s not learning new things, Annie enjoys entertaining family and friends, playing board games, cooking delicious meals from scratch, and listening to her fabulous playlist.

Kathryn Lee

Portrait of Kathryn LeeKathryn Lee is an Accountant, somewhat reluctant business owner, and mother to two wonderful and busy young women.

Kathryn’s approach to raising her youngest daughter, Annie, has always been guided by the pursuit of typical life experiences. She has high expectations of the capacity and abilities of both of her children but understands the additional attention and support Annie needs to have opportunities similar to her sister. The home she and her husband Damian have created is filled with laughter, warmth, creativity, and sometimes frenetic activity as they manage the household’s many pursuits.

Despite the many things on her to-do list, Kathryn even manages to make time for her own lifelong learning.