TWO local adult learners who have transformed their lives through education were among those honoured at an annual awards ceremony this week.
Teries Kevin Currie and Pamela Casson took centre stage at the 12th Adult Learners Awards at the Scottish Borders Campus in Galashiels on Tuesday night, where their individual achievements earned them special recognition.
Yet despite each being dedicated to their respective studies in literacy and care, both winners have spoken of being speechless when their names were called.
Kevin Currie, 46, who scooped the Literacies Award after his success with Learning for All, told the Hawick News: “It felt absolutely amazing to win. It was also very humbling though as I felt there were a lot more worthy people than me.”
Kevin, who lives in Denholm and works at the Shell garage in Jedburgh, explained: “It has been a hard year and hard work, because although I’ve always struggled with literacy, I only found out I had dyslexia when I started the classes, so it was a big adjustment.”
But in the last year, Kevin says his new SQA qualifications have brought great benefits to him and his family, and also his volunteering with the MS Society and Riding for the Disabled.
He added: “Athough I’d never let it hold me back, knowing what was wrong and how to overcome it has changed my life and made things a lot easier, and I want to keep going.”
Indeed, Kevin’s success looks set to continue as he hopes to gain future qualifications – and he has also been nominated for an award at national level.
Fellow victor Pamela Casson, 43, who was crowned the winner of the evening’s Care Award, says she too “wasn’t expecting to win” among those on the shortlist.
But after 26 years in the town’s Johnstons mill, she is also embarking on a new life after her success studying social care and health at Borders College.
She told the Hawick News: “It was hard going back into education as I was never any good at school, but I started getting straight ‘A’s and found I loved studying.”
As well as attending college, Pamela has also secured part-time work in the care sector. And having just received a conditional offer from Napier University to fulfil her ambition of studying for a nursing degreee, she added: “I can’t believe how much my life has changed, I have totally changed my career in two years that have just flown by.
“I would never have thought it, but at my age it just shows that anything can happen.”