Everyone learns differently

Caleb Govan was never well-suited to sitting in a classroom.

“I was never very academic” he claims, “I was more a hands-on person.” Even as a young child Caleb was always playing with tools and tinkering in the shed on the farm where he grew up.

Caleb says he struggled at school and watched with envy as his classmates seemed to know the answers to all the questions and be able to write essays with ease. As a result, he would “always give up too easily, muck around in class and thought school was a waste of time.”

But things started to turn around for Caleb when he joined Hands On Learning, a program run by his school and supported by Australian charity Save the Children. Students work on real-life projects and develop practical skills they can apply to future careers. By playing to their strengths, the program keeps students connected to school and re-engages them with their education. Caleb enjoyed applying his skills, and developing new ones as he undertook building projects, went out into the community and learned more about the world of work.

“Hands On helped me understand there was a purpose to school,” Caleb reveals. Maths, for example, made more sense when measuring up a ‘wellbeing classroom’ he was helping to renovate. The program gave him confidence, improved his motivation, and ultimately led to better grades.

It’s no surprise that today Caleb is undertaking a carpentry apprenticeship, a career he’s always dreamed of. At just 17 years old, he has wisdom, maturity and an easy-going confidence that surpasses his teenage years. He’s enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead.

Caleb wants others who are feeling overwhelmed or disengaged at school to know “there is always something out there that you can do. You just need to give it a red hot crack.”

Hear his story below.

In 2020 we celebrated 10 years of philanthropy. Thanks to the work of our partners, with our support, more than 62,000 young Australians have used education to become the best that they can be.

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