West Cumbria Mines Research Group
preserving heritage for future generations

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Cumbria's Learner

A 54-year-old Cumbrian man whose grandchildren’s inquisitive minds inspired him to go back to the classroom has won a prestigious adult learners’ award.

Michael McCrickard, a technical assistant at BNFL’s Sellafield plant, credits his three grandchildren for his success in completing no fewer than 32 City and Guilds courses over the past 12 years – a feat that that earned him an honour at this year’s one small step Adult Learners’ Week Awards.

Michael McCrickard, Cumbrian LearnerHe said: “If it wasn’t for my grandchildren asking me questions that I didn’t always know the answer to, I don’t think I would have taken that first step to start learning again.

“But it’s great to get this award, and I plan to keep on learning and help other people do likewise.”

Michael was among 22 adult learners from across the North West to pick up accolades at the one small step awards, when their hard work and commitment was celebrated at a special awards ceremony at Urbis in Manchester on Thursday (May 19).

The one small step awards - co-ordinated by MLA North West, the regional agency for museums, libraries and archives, in partnership with a number of other organisations - highlight learning opportunities and the benefits of learning to individuals and communities across the North West.

Michael, who studies at the Wyndham Adult Education Centre in Egremont, was presented with the MLA North West Inspiring Learner Award by MLA chief executive Clare Connor, for his work with New Deal placements at the Florence Mine Heritage Centre.

He added: “I looked at the imposing building and all the students going in to learn and decided there and then, that now was the day to take the first step and start learning.”

Clare Connor said: “Michael uses his infectious joy of learning to enable students to develop their computer skills and complete qualifications.

“These awards celebrate the achievements of the region’s learners - people who find the time and creativity to learn something new. Michael’s story will offer inspiration to others and hopefully encourage more adults to try learning for themselves.”

Other award winners included an 88-year-old charity worker, a mother-of-five from Pakistan and a former homeless drug addict. The awards’ scheme is part of a wider, national campaign for Adult Learners’ Week (May 21-27), which aims to promote and advance all forms of adult learning.

There were 16 awards, in nine categories, with specific awards for NHS learners, basic skills students, over 50s learners and anyone learning with the support of regional museums, libraries and archives. Organisations and volunteers who enrich the experience of learners by providing information, advice and support - and help ‘make learning happen’ – were also honoured.

The awards were open to anyone from the North West, aged over 19, who was involved in formal or informal learning - whether for personal, professional or academic development, or simply for pleasure - over the past 12 months.

The awards’ scheme was delivered in partnership with the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and the BBC, and is sponsored by the Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority, Manchester Basic Skills Consortium, Learning and Skills Council Greater Manchester and the Manchester Life Long Learning Partnership.