PEOPLE who have battled against the odds to make their way in the world of learning have had their achievements recognised.
The second South Tyneside Council adult and community learning awards evening was a celebration of those who have made a return to education.
The night was aimed at recognising those who, despite having personal issues, have excelled in their chosen area.
Training providers and employers were also praised for their “commitment and support” to helping people fulfil their ambitions.
The event was held on Thursday at Hedworth Hall in South Shields, and was attended by South Tyneside’s Deputy Mayor, Coun Fay Cunningham, and the council’s lead member for children, young people and families, Coun Joan Atkinson.
The night was opened by teenage singers Bad Hair Day and music was also provided by group Viva Aria.
Coun Atkinson said: “I have been out to meet the people taking part in these courses, with the most recent trip being to Biddick Hall and Whiteleas Children’s Centre, where a parenting course was being held.
“Being a parent is one of the most demanding things in your life and sometimes you do need that extra support.
“From what I saw and heard about the course, those young parents taking part say they feel more competent and confident, and they are committed to completing the programme.
“And, as well as helping their own children, they also become a network for each other.”
There were 10 awards on the night.
Coun Cunningham said: “All the winners have worked hard, and overcome challenges to get where they are now.
“They are truly inspirational people and thoroughly deserve to be recognised for their achievements.”
The award winners were: community learner of the year Michael Guthrie, who despite suffering from multiple sclerosis retrained in order to secure a job in a call centre; apprentice of the year was Jemma McGarry; functional skills learner of the year was Nazmin Akter; outstanding young achievers were Keegan Cairns and Lauren Gray; family of the year were Pauline and Gemma Fawcett; young parent of the year was Ayesha Jobes; tutor of the year was Sue Keedy; volunteer/mentor of the year was Dawn Graham; provider of the year was Community First North East and employer of the year was The Care People.
A special award was presented to the family of Joanne Carr.
Mrs Carr had excelled in her training as she set her sights on becoming a nurse, and was in the process of being put forward for an award by her trainer, Viv Muirhead, when she died.
All shortlisted nominees received a runners-up trophy in recognition of their achievements.
It is estimated more than 6,000 people in the borough have benefitted from various programmes with some going on to gain apprenticeships and employment.
For more information on adult learning, call 0800 073 1772 or e-mail ACL.firstname.lastname@example.org