Inspirational people have been celebrated for their outstanding achievements at the fifth annual Suffolk Adult Learners’ Awards.
A total of 12 awards were presented to groups and individuals at the University Campus Suffolk ceremony last Thursday (June 18).
Among them was Mary Taylor, who received the ‘outstanding services to adult education and training in Suffolk’ award, and Craig Smith, who was presented with the ‘apprentice or learner at work’ award.
Mary worked at West Suffolk College for almost 30 years before retiring in April and is credited as being instrumental in a range of county and regional initiatives, including being a founding member of the Suffolk PCDL Partnership, the Suffolk Partnership of Informal Adult Learning and Leap.
The 64-year-old, of Fornham St Martin, said: “I feel very honoured to have got the award. I was overwhelmed, really overwhelmed.
“I honestly don’t think I’ve done anything more than anybody else, other than work and be passionate about it.
“Really, as far as I’m concerned, I’ve been very fortunate to have a job where I’ve met so many people over the years.”
Miles Cole, Leap project manager, said: “Mary was a trailblazer, deciding it wasn’t enough to just have adult provision running from schools, she wanted to get adult provision into the high streets, so this is what she did.
“Working alongside Suffolk County Council to offer free IT courses to adults and more recently working with Leap, Mary opened centres in Stowmarket, Sudbury, Haverhill and Mildenhall.”
Craig, who is also a member of the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network for Suffolk, was recognised for progress he has made while learning through his Newmarket-based employer, GE Aviation.
The 19-year-old, from Bury, said working at GE was ‘fantastic’ and he had learned a lot in a short space of time.
He added that winning the award ‘was a bit of a shock’ but had made him ‘very happy’.
Kevin Hadley, who nominated Craig, said “His accomplishments are many’, including having taken a lead role in a successful new product introduction program.”