Meet some of our Tutors

Richard Ashbee, Know your own camera – beginners course & 3 intermediate photography courses

I have been delivering these courses since 2015. I was a professional photographer before coming to Shetland and delivered photography training as part of my portfolio.

I always enjoy folk gaining confidence, creating better photos and proving inspiration to go on photograph subjects they may have never tried before. A good number of learners have already completed all the courses with some coming back and repeating some that they have particularly enjoyed.

Due to demand from the students, I now hold full practical sessions and walks on a particular subject, outside normal classes to various parts of Shetland. This reinforces information given on courses on what settings to use, and how to compose to get a better photo, and support each other.

Students are also offered unlimited e-mail support, even after the course has finished, to help them gain further confidence and a better understanding on how to use their camera or to help them solve any photography problems.

Jacqui Clark, Young People’s Mental Health & Wellbeing for parents/guardians

I used to work for Mind Your Head and when I was there this was something that was always on my to do list but I never got round to. The main thing for me about the course is helping parents/guardians or people who work with young people to have the confidence to talk about a subject that is tough to talk about.

As a tutor you learn too – how to do things differently and hopefully more effectively for future courses. I hope to deliver more courses in 2017 and also launch a series of new creative writing courses.

Claire Chroston, Family First Aid

As a first aid training provider working in Shetland, I identified that living in a remote and rural area meant that any basic understanding, knowledge and skills in respect of first aid could be immensely beneficial to the wider community and this family first aid course could represent an accessible route to delivering those skills. It is not a work-based qualification but rather for use within your own family should the need ever arise.

I enjoy passing on practical first aid skills that can be used by members of the public in an emergency whilst waiting for the arrival of the emergency medical services. Skills that family members can apply which could save a life.

The highlights include watching a learner’s confidence grow and to break down barriers associated with the use of defibrillators. Before the course people say that they would be averse to using one for various reasons, which are explored within the class, afterwards people say they would use one and understand that they are all designed so that anyone, in an emergency should use them along with CPR by switching them on and following voice instructions. It is hugely rewarding to see students confidence grow in any situation.

Babs Clubb, Introduction to Fashion Make-Up

Whilst living south, I delivered this class at West College Scotland in Clydebank and Paisley with great success. I decided upon moving back to Shetland it would be a really good opportunity to deliver it to folk here and it would be a new fresh course for the Adult Learning. My hope was to meet fellow makeup enthusiasts and help them to refine their techniques, build confidence and have a really fun night each week!

I’ve gained a whole load of new friends and further confidence in my teaching abilities. It is definitely something I wish to continue in some shape or form. Perhaps progressing into formal education in the future.

The highlight of the classes for me was the mini photoshoot we did at the end of the six weeks. The learners used all that they had learned to complete a final look, which was amazing. I loved seeing how far each had progressed.

For me tutoring means folks who have a strong interest in makeup can learn much more in depth techniques at a really great price. Its nice to be able to give something back to the community.

Gus Dow, Breadmaking for Beginners

I have been a keen amateur bread maker for over seven years, and would have loved to go to some sort of class, so I came up with a structure that would work in a two-hour timeframe (good bread can take 24-36 hours!)

The highlights have been seeing people make good bread. All you need is flour, water and a little salt. With some time and a bit of know-how, you can make better bread than most commercial bakeries. There are very few things these days you can make better than industry in today’s hi-tech world.

You have to know the recipes well to teach them. Tutoring can be a bit nerve-wracking and can go a bit wrong sometimes, but when it works and everyone is smiling and learning, I must admit it’s a pretty good feeling! Tutoring has taught me that there is always more to learn and pass on.

Tracey Hawkins, various IT courses

I have been delivering classes on mobile smart devices for two years with Adult Learning. I had previously worked on a digital inclusion project to help people in Shetland to gain basic digital skills.

I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy teaching but I have loved it! All the classes bring different dynamics and different situations and I thoroughly enjoy the challenges, which are thrown up at each session.

The highlights have been meeting new people and being able to help them gain skills and confidence in a friendly and supportive environment. I have also gained in confidence and I learn something new at each of the sessions along with the participants!

I have had several students who had no experience with tablets but felt that they were being left behind. Following a few lessons, they got ‘hooked’ on the internet and all of a sudden found themselves chatting to ex-colleagues on the other side of the world and being able to join in with activities and hobbies they had previously thought inaccessible.

Carol Hunter, Aromatherapy and Indian Head Massage Classes

I trained at the Scottish School of Professional Massage and Remedial Studies and the School of Professional Aromatherapy and Palliative Training Resources in Fife in 2000.

I worked as an Adult Learning tutor in Indian Head Massage, and other therapies at Adam Smith College, Kirkcaldy. I worked for Fife Council and have taught Indian Head Massage at family learning fun days and ran adult learning classes on crafts and Christmas on a budget.

I moved to Shetland in November 2015 and have been teaching classes since November 2016. I enjoy teaching adults new skills, helping and encouraging them to move onto further learning and seeing them build their confidence in the process. The highlights for me have been getting through my course to become a tutor and to then go on and start to teach adult classes, seeing people improve their skills, build their confidence and move on to further learning that they may not previously tried.

I have gained more confidence in my skills in working with people and I really enjoy it. I also enjoy learning new skills and encouraging others to learn new skills.

James Nicol, Conversational Norwegian for beginners

Before I started as a tutor, I was very frightened at the prospect of teaching as I had no qualifications in teaching. I had no real income and this was a chance to work and help the community and show how easy it is to learn a language.

I started with Adult Learning in 2009 and enjoyed teaching the students all about Norway. My Norwegian was fresh and I had a lot of information that I wanted to share. I taught Norwegian night classes for three years then had a break. Returning back to teaching Norwegian has been a rewarding experience - 2017 has given me new confidence and new material which is even more up to date. I have a lot of Norwegian products which I can share with the class some examples are children’s books, knitting magazines, coffee, sweets, flags, local newspapers from Bergen and smaller towns.

I had a Norwegian friend attend one of my night classes and we both tried a small talking session to give the students a real life feel of what two friends would talk about in Norway. The students loved the idea and had many questions to what we were saying. They heard a lot of Shetland words in the talk. In one of my night classes I had Norwegian Coffee and Waffles specially made for the final class we had a good night eating and drinking Norwegian style.

Being a tutor has taught me a lot about how people learn. This has given me new ideas on how to get information across and how relevant it is for them. .

Martin Platt, Understanding Astronomy; Scientists through the Ages

I became involved in the Evening Class Pprogramme because I wanted to keep my hand in with teaching, and I wanted to teach new and different courses, providing a fresh student experience.

Both my classes have been running for several years and have attracted a healthy number of students each time. Some students have come back for more, and have attended both courses. Highlights have included being able to devise my own courses from scratch, having students return to my classes having been pleased with previous ones, and the ‘usual’ benefit of improving people’s knowledge.

Teaching in the Evening Class Programme has helped to maintain my interest and enjoyment in teaching. It is a more relaxed environment than school or college, with their emphasis on curriculum, deadlines and examinations. The courses I teach here are about learning for its own sake, to satisfy curiosity, rather than about career paths or improving the national economy. These courses are truly about the learner.

Andy Ross, A Little Light Weaving

This was the first time I had attempted to teach weaving through Adult Learning and I chose to do it this way for many reasons: to get more people to visit the studio, to tell more about the fun involved in making something, to help me gain confidence, to give an opportunity for learning to people who may not want to do something academic.

I love meeting people and sharing ideas. Tutoring has boosted my confidence and helped me to make new friends. I feel more able to teach others, and also have faith in my own abilities. Outside the sessions, I have more confidence in talking to people about what I do, and I have a sense of pride in my work.

The most obvious success has been that we had more people sign up than I had looms for, and so I had to run a second class. Everyone who came along wanted to come up and spend more time in the studio, and specifically asked for a residential workshop weekend. Two of the attendees have bought a loom now and that must count as success in anyone’s book!

Linda Shearer, Introduction to Lace Knitting

This is the first lace class I have taken. I have done Fair Isle classes since 2012, so thought I'd try a change. I got involved with the Evening Class Programme when someone interviewed people on what type of classes they would like to see available to adults - this person approached me and asked if I would be interested in tutoring Fair Isle. What I really hoped to get out of it was, to promote Fair Isle knitting in Whalsay/ Shetland as it had gone through a bit of a lull.

There have been many highlights, but it’s mostly the banter with the class and the delight with the learners when they have produced something lovely. Since I began tutoring, I have had a lot of the same people coming to the classes - I am so pleased to see how they have developed their confidence and accomplished some challenging projects. Some of the learners who have attended my classes have gone on to enter their knitting into the local county shows (and won awards)

I just love doing the classes; we have a lot of fun and ideas can bounce off each other. I have improved as well as the learners; I find I have to be more structured in my delivery of instructions - in the past I just made up things as I went along! I feel I am now more confident in advising others on knitting related problems.

Donna Smith, Fair Isle Knitting

I started teaching the class in January 2016. I had attended the class as a learner when it was taught by Wilma Pottinger, when she couldn’t teach any more, she suggested that I take over which was quite daunting at first as it was difficult shoes to fill! Since picking up knitting again, I have been very keen to learn the traditional techniques and methods used in the class and I am very keen to see these skills retained as they are such an important part of our heritage and culture.

It has been really good to see someone who has done very little knitting or no Fair Isle knitting at the beginning of the session to be able to complete a peerie Fair Isle allover and then go on to plan future projects. It is also so satisfying to see how enthusiastic the students can be when they learn something new that helps their knitting and when they start thinking about all the possibilities of what they can make.

I find I am continually developing and learning new ways of delivering the course, I always like to find out new tips and skills from other knitters that I can then pass onto the learners.

Heather Wilson, Pastel for beginners, mixed media for beginners and Acrylic for Beginners.

I have been involved in Evening classes for about 4 years. I found it a great way to become part of the community and use my artistic skills while raising a young family.

The highlights have been seeing some of my past and present pupils posting work up on social media with confidence, which perhaps they wouldn't previously have done.

I find tutoring rewarding, helping students fulfil potential they do not realise they have. Evening classes inform my artwork and l find new ways of developing my own practice based on pupils approach to making art.

  • The Scotish Goverment
  • Shetland Island Council
  • Learn Direct Scotland