Teenagers scoop learning awards

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by Nan Macfarlane

THREE Berwickshire teenagers have scooped top awards at this year’s Border-wide Adult Learner Awards.

Cherday Wilson

Cherday Wilson

Seventeen-year-old Cherday Wilson from Whitsome along with 18-year-old Kyle Wilson from Duns and 18-year-old Oscar MacAndrew from Allanton were honoured on Tuesday night at a ceremony at Borders College Campus in Galashiels.

Cherday, who started the Workwise course at Borders College last August was given the Learning in the Workplace Award for under 25s after becoming a role model for other students.

After a bad experience at school, Cherday has flourished at college with judges describing her as mature, hardworking and enthusiastic in her studies. She has now applied for a national progression award in painting and decorating at the college.

Kyle and Oscar were awarded the Social Enterprise Award after using their learning to start a community radio station in Duns called Generate Radio CIC.

Judges said: “Their desire and motivation came from a need to create something unique and of value, based in the local community, along with their strong passion for radio and music.”

The pair are currently undertaking a course in leadership run by the Social Enterprise Academy.

Berwickshire was well represented in the nominations for the awards.

Nominees from the area were: Under 25 category - Kevin Malcolm from Greenlaw. Kevin was very keen to be at college, but struggled with numeracy. He looked for extra support and when he gained the help he needed, he realised that he could progress and now enjoys his course. His determination has paid off and he now hopes to return to study City & Guilds joinery.

Nominated in the 26-49 years category were Emma Fairley from Gordon, Avril Kennedy from Coldstream, Margaret Morton from Duns, Robert Rowley from Eyemouth, and Louise Sawers from Duns.

Like many others, Emma did not enjoy school. She worked and had a young family, taking training opportunities as they arose.

However, her appetite for learning grew and she decided to take the bull by the horns and go to Napier University, where she graduated in Careers guidance with Distinction

Her own motivation and enthusiasm has helped others, and she now intends to start a further qualification in community learning in 2013, proving that a change of career is possible and that learning can fit in with family life.

Avril was motivated to get involved in learning as a single parent, keen to support her daughter’s development and education. She wanted a stepping stone into further education, and through community learning and development, she has gained three maths qualifications, is working towards a fourth and has gained the confidence to aim for a career in counselling.

Margaret was new to the Borders when she started in adultlLearning (community learning and development).

She has worked steadily on her computer skills, maths and English, to support her children with their school work.

She has achieved SQA qualifications in IT and English and her confidence has grown, so that she now feels that she can apply for jobs and become involved in the community.

Robert started with community learning and development in 2009. He had recently moved into the area, and with health problems, he felt very isolated.

Starting with one-to-one sessions, he gradually began to gain in confidence, and as his learning progressed his health also improved.

Now his confidence in learning has transferred to other aspects of his life and he is looking forward to gaining qualifications and looking for a job.

Louise came to community learning and development after an accident caused a brain injury. In spite of many health problems, she has been absolutely determined to study, and has gained confidence in her maths and English skills. She has been inspired to learn more, using her own learning styles, memory techniques and study skills. She now has plans to study film, make-up and special effects, a challenge she feels ready to take on.

Veronica Blackwood, Chair of the Awards, said: “Every one of the 36 nominees has an inspiring story – they have taken different paths, but they all have one thing in common – they have achieved a goal, and that is why they have been nominated.”

Sponsors of the Adult Learners Awards are Skills Development Scotland (SDS); Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA); Berwickshire Housing Association; Ewart Excavations; Borders College Community Learning and Development; Scottish Borders Council; Volunteer Centre Borders; Learning for ALL; Borders Care Learning Network; Social Enterprise Academy and Social Enterprise Chamber; Eildon Housing Association and Real Wood Studios, Ancrum.