14 October 2021

Celebration of "life-changing" adult learning

Adult learners from across Aberdeenshire recently took part in a Celebration of Adult Learning at an event hosted by Aberdeenshire Council in Inverurie.

Learners shared their personal stories and the impact of their learning at the event, which was organised by the local authority’s Community Learning & Development (CLD) Adult Learning team. Adult learners came together with staff to reflect on the learners’ success in topics including Personal Development, Literacy and Numeracy, English to Speakers of Other Languages, and Using Computers. Learners also celebrated achieving SQA and other accredited qualifications.

Those who took part are keen to highlight how much of a difference gaining the support of the Adult Learning team has made to them.

Charlie McCorry who is an adult learner from Pitcaple said: “My experience with Adult Learning has been life-changing! It is changing me for the better!”

“The learning gave me more confidence, focus and awareness of myself; and a desire to improve myself. It also helped me increase my self-respect,” was shared by Douglas Stevenson, Inverurie.

Michelle Baguley from Pitmedden added: “The STEPS to Success programme has changed the way I think… It has been life changing!”

David Sagar, Fraserburgh, agrees how much of a difference the English as an Additional Language course can make. He said: “I did not speak much English… but with help from adult learning I can now speak much more English and Doric! I have a job, more friends and more confidence now!”

Wilma Wilson from Oldmeldrum said: “I’ve learned to change the way I think about things, challenge myself and improve my own mental health. It really has changed my life – thank you!”

Fouzia Amjad, from Peterhead commented: “I am more fluent in English now and so I can express myself. My confidence is boosted and I’ve gained a qualification!”

Sally Morrison from Macduff said: “I now have more confidence and improved computing skills. My adult learning tutors helped me a great deal and I can’t thank them enough.”

As part of the event which took place on Friday 24 September, learners met with senior officers and councillors who were keen to congratulate them on all they have achieved. Chair of the council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee, Cllr Gillian Owen, commended the learners and presented them with certificates of achievement.

Cllr Owen said: “We've heard some very personal and moving stories from our speakers. I think you'll agree that these stories are testament to the resilience and hard work of the Adult Learners, especially during these last very difficult few years. We thank you all for sharing your stories with us and congratulate you again on your achievements.”

Councillor Owen also commended the dedication of the adult learning staff and volunteers. She praised the team’s responsiveness in adapting the learning on offer during the pandemic, as much of it was moved online.

She added: “We have heard about the power of adult learning and education. We can see that it can certainly enhance lives and that as well as allowing us to acquire new skills and knowledge; learning supports us in all aspects of family, community and work life. Learning is life enhancing and life affirming, but it can also be life-changing! Today sums up the learner-centred ethos and positive impact of adult learning in Aberdeenshire. Well done to everyone involved!”

Communities and Partnerships Interim Service Manager, Philip Boath, also commended the learners’ achievements. He said: “We are very grateful to the adult learners for sharing their stories, and enjoyed hearing how learning has helped them improve their skills and meet life’s challenges. It is especially important to celebrate the positive after the difficulties everyone has faced during these past two very challenging years! And so we hope this helps the learners reflect on their progress, take stock and think about what might be next for them.”

The Community Learning & Development Adult Learning team offers a range of learning including:

• English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
• Using Computers
• Family learning - supporting parents to support children’s learning throughout their lives
• Improving skills for employment
• Personal development to increase self-confidence
• Reading, writing, numbers and other literacy skills

The team offers formal and informal learning opportunities which are accessible and welcoming. They deliver 1:1, group and online virtual learning. Learning is free and learners set their own goals.

For more information on adult learning, please contact the Community Learning and Development team by emailing cld@aberdeenshire.gov.uk