ADULTS from the Borders have been recognised for their learning achievements.

The annual Adult Learners Awards ceremony took place at Earlston High School on Tuesday, April 23.

Now in their 21st year, the awards are held to celebrate the achievements of adult learners across the region who, often against considerable odds, take their future into their own hands and take advantage of the range of opportunities available to them to enhance their knowledge, quality of life and job prospects.

The awards are also an opportunity for learners to tell their stories so that others may be inspired to raise their aspirations and improve their life chances through learning.

The awards are jointly organised by Borders College, Live Borders, Scottish Borders Council, Scottish Borders Housing Association, Eildon Housing Association, Skills Development Scotland and Volunteer Centre Borders.

Ross Mair, a Borders College student studying full-time for his Hairdressing Level 1, took home the overall individual award.

Ross has had to overcome several barriers in his life, having experienced several foster placements as a child.

He was determined to finish his high school education and successfully negotiated to remain in the Borders with a family who have supported him through a very difficult time.

On receiving his award, Ross said: “I was only put forward for the young learner award, so when they said overall winner it was quite unexpected and a bit of a shock.

“There were many days when I thought college wasn't for me, due to either social or personal reasons or not feeling I was smart enough to continue in a course which lasted so long.

“But with the help of my mentor and others who pushed me and reminded me to believe in myself, I was able to keep going.

“I've always loved hair and makeup and I love film and what goes on behind the scenes.

“In the future, I’d love to go on and do the prosthetics and makeup behind the scenes.

“This gives me the confidence to do that and I'm extremely proud and really thankful for everyone who's been there and helped me throughout my life and pushed me to keep going.”

Councillor Carol Hamilton, Executive Member for Children and Young People, said: “As always, these awards represent a significant commitment on behalf of all the nominees and they are to be commended for the courage and hard work they have shown in achieving their goals.

“It was not easy for the judges to choose the winners from such a worthy list of nominees, but our congratulations go to those who were eventually selected, and we wish them well with whatever they go on to do as a result of their achievement.

“I would also like to acknowledge the commitment, enthusiasm and hard work of the tutors and enablers who have each made a significant contribution to not only the learning that has been accomplished, but also the personal development that will have taken place as part of each adult’s individual journey to success.

“This was once again a very special occasion and everyone who took part should be very proud of their contribution.”

The award winners in the eight categories were: Young Learner- Samuel Hartswood; Learner in the workplace – Joanne Renwick; Mature learner – Tam Stewart; Learning in a group – Eyemouth Peep Babies; Learning in the community – Eilidh Shortreed; Accredited learning – Lyndsey Malcolm; Learning through volunteering – Adele Ennis; Learning English – Martyna Flis; Enabled learning through volunteering – Duns and District U3A.