Thursday, 8 March 2012

First Learner of the Year Named for Scotland

Susan Manson, a cleaner at the Morrisons store in Airdrie, has been named as the 1st Learner of the Year by Scottish Union Learning, which is part of the Scottish TUC. The Learner of the Year Award was introduced by Scottish Union Learning in 2011 to recognise the range of learning journeys currently undertaken by lay learners in the workplace, supported by trade unions. Susan was nominated by her union, USDAW, because her story is a powerful example of how union learning is supporting those who never thought learning was for them.

At a recent union-supported “Check Out Learning” campaign day, Susan signed up for a Basic IT course. Susan said, “I always wanted to know more about computers, but I didn’t have the confidence to go to a college by myself. My USDAW Union Learning Reps organised this course in store, which was supported by the Learning Fund through Scottish Union Learning.”
Susan started the course but soon felt out of her depth. She also felt like she was struggling to keep up with the other learners, a feeling she remembered all too well from school. A ULR in the store spoke with Susan and helped her to gain the confidence to speak with the tutor regarding her dyslexia, something she had kept secret for many years.
Ann Seagriff, USDAW Union Learning Rep, said, “We were happy to support Susan to overcome her struggles to be successful in this course. It involved a lot of encouragement, and sometimes a wee bit of a push, and we’re so proud that she’s got there in the end.”
The course tutor helped Susan to access software which helped her overcome the problems dyslexia caused on the course. Susan later bought her own laptop, and the software which helped her so much during the course is now an integral part of her life.
Susan said, “For years, I had to rely on my husband or my son to read something for me. Now I just scan my mail into the computer and can deal with it myself. It’s so much nicer not to have to rely on anyone else – what I’ve learned with the support of my union has completely changed my life.”
She continued, “It was quite a shock to hear that I was going to be named as the Learner of the Year. I’m so pleased and just hope that other learners out there are encouraged to take a chance like I did – it’s worth it!”

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