Two Berwickshire men are celebrating after graduating from Borders College, with David Nicol from Swinton receiving a special award.
Former contractor David was honoured with the Exceptional Achievement Award, recognising his discipline and his achievement.
David, 53, said: “I was a self-employed flooring contractor in the Borders for 20-odd years. As a lot of my work revolved around a healthy housing market I found it difficult to secure regular contracts after the housing bubble burst. 2011 I gave it up all together and thought of myself as being on the scrap heap.”
But in January 2012 David saw an advert in the paper for a 12 week ‘prepare to care’ course at Borders College.
“I had an interest in social care as my father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. “I knew from experience that knowledgeable professionals made a great difference to his quality of life in his last years.
“After completing the course I gained a job as a support worker at Community Integrated Care at Todlaw in Duns. Around the same time I was accepted onto the higher care full time course with the full support of the management and staff at Community Integrated Care who allowed me to use the job as my work placement.”
His consistently high marks led to David going on to the Higher National Certificate Course.
Looking back, he said: “In two years I have developed my skills to a level I could never have imagined a few years ago.
“After two years of hard work mixing college studies with my duties as a support worker, it is great to be recognised by Borders College and Community Integrated Care.
“I feel a great sense of achievement to have moved into a career as a social care professional.
“I feel my story may encourage others of my age,” said David, “to return to education to transform their lives.”
There was also recognition for Chirnside’s Karl Kincaid, who completed a Modern Apprenticeship Award.
Borders College said: “Karl was strongly self-directed in his learning, showing a great deal of commitment and drive in order to achieve his qualifications, whilst holding down a full-time job at East End Garage in Chirnside.”