Ross is a cut above the norm

Overall winner Ross Mair  from Greenlaw, with Andrea Hall, Claire Ritchie and Councillor Carol Hamilton
Overall winner Ross Mair from Greenlaw, with Andrea Hall, Claire Ritchie and Councillor Carol Hamilton

The achievements of adult learners in the Scottish Borders was celebrated at an awards ceremony in Earlston High School recently.

Now in their 21st year, the awards celebrate the achievements of adult learners, who have often battled against considerable odds to take their future into their own hands and take advantage of the opportunities available to them.

The awards are also an opportunity to tell the stories of these learners so that others may be inspired to raise their aspirations and improve their life chances through learning.

There were eight category winners: Young learner (16-25 years) - Samuel Hartswood; Learner in the workplace - Joanne Renwick; Mature learner (50+ years) - Tam Stewart; Learning in a group - Eyemouth Peep Babie (a group of mums working on Peep Baby Development SCQF Level 3 or 4 Awards who give confidence to other new mums by sharing their experiences and difficulties, and hope to set up a Baby Café and women only exercise classes); Learning in the community - Eilidh Shortreed; Accredited learning - Lyndsey Malcolm; Learning through volunteering - Adele Ennis; Learning English - Martyna Flis; Enabling learning through volunteering - Duns and District U3A.

Overall individual winner, 17 years-old Ross Mair, from Greenlaw, said: “It was quite unexpected and a bit of a shock. There were many days when I thought college wasn’t for me, due to either social or personal reasons or not feeling I was smart enough to continue in a course which lasted so long. But with the help of my mentor and others who pushed me and reminded me to believe in myself, I was able to keep going.

“I’ve always loved hair and makeup and I love film and what goes on behind the scenes; I’d love to go on and do the prosthetics and makeup behind the scenes. This gives me the confidence to do that and I’m extremely proud and really thankful for everyone who’s been there and helped me throughout my life and pushed me to keep going.”

Councillor Carol Hamilton, executive member for children and young people, said: “These awards represent a significant commitment on behalf of all the nominees and they are to be commended for the courage and hard work shown in achieving their goals. Our congratulations to those who were selected, we wish them well with whatever they go on to do as a result of their achievement.”

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

“This was once again a very special occasion and everyone who took part should be very proud of their contribution.”