Adult learners prove determined to succeed

Winner of the mature learner award Jackie Gray from Coldstream (centre) with Margaret Menzies and Catherine Hadshar.
Winner of the mature learner award Jackie Gray from Coldstream (centre) with Margaret Menzies and Catherine Hadshar.

Coldstream’s Jackie Gray was a winner at the 18th annual Scottish Borders Adult Learners’ Awards ceremony held at Earlston High School last week.

The awards – organised by Scottish Borders Council’s community learning and development team, Volunteer Centre Borders, Borders College, Scottish Borders Housing Association and Skills Development Scotland – celebrated the achievement of adult learners, many of whom have fought against considerable odds to take advantage of the opportunity to improve their life and job prospects.

This year’s eight winners were young learner Scott Weir, workplace learner Megan Bilsland, mature learner Jackie Gray, group learner Open Doors in Peebles, community learner Lynn Hardie, accredited learner Chris Forsyth, volunteer learner Martin Green and overall winner Rachel Treeby.

Jackie Gray, 51, is determined to get back into work.

Shee left school without qualifications, and when she was made redundant she decided to develop her IT skills, achieving SQA level 2 and learned how to use the internet for job hunting.

She then turned her attention to numeracy, putting in hours of study and achieving SQA level 2 in November 2016.

Jackie has gained in confidence, becoming an independent learner as well as a positive, encouraging member of the group and her priority now is qualifications.

“I just want to learn and get my qualifications,” said Jackie. “I was not offered the chance to do qualifications at school,”

Donna Manson, service director for children and young people at the council said: “Many congratulations to everyone involved in this year’s awards.

“As always, the quality of nominations was outstanding, with every individual and group nominated clearly having shown considerable courage and determination to overcome their own unique and personal barriers to learning.

“They are to be commended for their determination, and I wish them well with whatever they go on to do as a result of their achievements.

“I would also like to acknowledge the ongoing commitment, enthusiasm and hard work of the tutors who have each made a significant contribution to not only the learning that has been achieved, but also the personal development that will have taken place as part of each adult’s individual journey to success.”