Winning against the odds

7th September 2007 at 01:00
A SINGLE mother awaiting surgery for a life-threatening heart condition has been selected as Scotland's Learner of the Year.

Julie Methven, from Forres, was also named Personal Achiever of the Year in the annual awards, which are run by learndirect scotland to honour those who have battled against the odds to notch up considerable learning achievements.

Despite her illness, the judges heard she is determined to gain the best IT skills she can, and has been involved in the Train- ing for Work programme.

Jenna Don-aldson, her tutor at the Pitman training centre in Forres, de scribed her as "an inspiration to the staff and other learners at the centre".

At a special ceremony held in Glasgow on Wednesday, the Young Learner of the Year was named as Steven McKenzie, whose life has been turned around at the Ormiston Learning Centre in Dundee. Not only has he had to overcome learning difficulties, but a brutal attack left him un- willing to leave his home. The centre improved his reading and writing skills, and he has regained some of his confidence.

The Senior Learner of the Year is Margaret Taylor, a 55-year-old from Glenrothes who suffered from panic attacks and ill-health after her husband died. After living as a virtual recluse for six years, she decided she "needed to learn and needed to earn". She has now completed the Euro-pean Computer Driving Licence, advanced computer courses and a business course at college.

Other winners: James Madden, Glasgow: Workplace Learner of the Year Colin McIntosh, Glasgow: Career Changer of the Year Lisa McMurray, Dunfermline: Job Finder of the Year BRAG Enterprises, Crosshill, Fife: Learning Centre of the Year Ardgowan Hospice, Inverclyde: Learning Workplace of the Year

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