Tony Slater stands next to one of his exhibitions at the heritage centre.

Moray Council celebrates success story of adult learner

An adult learner from Moray who battled against the odds to return to education has been shortlisted for the Adult Learners’ Week (ALW) awards in Glasgow.

Tony Slater left Portknockie Secondary School aged 16 in 1972 with no qualifications and moved into unskilled manual work, bringing self-doubt and negative experiences.

Tony’s decision to start training with Moray Council’s Adult & Family Learning team at the age of 54, has seen his confidence and skillset soar.

The former offshore steward, who is now 65, has a string of new qualifications in subjects like maths, English, history, and computing, to his name.

Tony said: “I’m so proud of all that I have achieved, I actually can’t believe it, I’ve learned so much and just want to keep learning more and more.”

Tony always knew that his school days were far from successful in terms of academic achievement, which is something he always regretted.

A chance conversation with an old school pal led him back down the learning path with Moray Council.

Tony added: “I was moaning that maths was just an enigma to me and he suggested I join Moray Council’s adult learning classes.

“It was scary at first going to my first lessons. I stood outside the building for a long while thinking will I go in, will I not go in? I left school with no qualifications, I had none at all. Maths was just a jumble of numbers, English was just a jumble of words. I just couldn’t understand it, and the classroom environment back in those days was difficult for me, so I was really scared to walk in. But as soon as I did I saw my tutor walking downstairs with a big smile and from there on I never looked back. It’s just been solid encouragement, a boost all the time. I just absolutely love it, I could go seven days a week if they would let me.”

Through attending regular learning sessions, events and activities with Moray Council’s Adult Learning team, Tony progressed his research skills and interest in archives and history and now passes his findings on to Cullen Heritage Centre.

Chair of Moray Council’s Education, Children’s and Leisure Services Committee, Cllr Kathleen Robertson said Tony is a great advocate for adult learning and continues to work with the team and encourages others to learn. 

“Many  people go back to learning later in life or  because they had a difficult time with formal education when they were younger. All of the people who’ve been nominated during this time have shown tremendous courage and determination to make those positive life changes.

“Congratulations to Tony for this wonderful achievement and we wish his all the best for the awards ceremony.”

The National Adult Learners’ Awards is being held in Glasgow on Tuesday 5 September.

Contact Information

Moray Council Press Office