Open University graduate receives prestigious social work award

An Open University student has gained recognition as the highest-performing social work graduate.

Victoria Cumming was among 664 students to have their degrees conferred at a special ceremony in Edinburgh.

The 35 year-old from Sandwick received her BA with honours in social work at the event, held in the city’s Usher Hall.

Ms Cumming has been praised for her dedication and commitment after she travelled down to Glasgow from the isles for tutorials in order to gain her qualification.

She has now been named the Scotland recipient of the Andrew Cornwall Award for the highest-performing graduate in the social work programme.

Ms Cumming said: “With the Open University, you start while you are working, you don’t need to change your life. Anybody can do it.

“We are just about as far north as you can go in Scotland but you can study with the Open University anywhere. I also had a tutor who came up to Shetland twice for my placement meetings. They were good at making sure that happened rather than doing it all by video link.

“I was working to fund myself through it, so I would do 30 hours a week in placement, then another 15-20 hours work on top of that. It was quite busy but still possible and doable.

“It was a nice surprise when I got the email about the Andrew Cornwall Award. I think it just worked really well for me, the balance of working and studying.

“I just think it is such a good thing really, that anyone can do a degree and it can massively change your life. I would recommend it to anybody.”

Ms Cumming previously lived in Glasgow with her partner until she applied for a job as a social care trainee in the isles and started working with people with dementia.

Now a qualified social worker, she is enjoying a new role in the family placement team with Shetland Islands Council.

Director of the Open University in Scotland, Susan Stewart, said Ms Cumming had done extremely well.

“Our students come from all kinds of backgrounds and from all over Scotland and they study for lots of different reasons, but what they all have in common is a fierce desire to fit learning into their busy lives.

“Victoria is a fantastic example of that commitment and dedication and I’m extremely proud of her and everyone else that graduated with the Open University in Scotland.”


Add Your Comment
  • Wilma Poleson

    • October 29th, 2017 17:01

    So delighted for you Victoria ,never forget how good you were with my late husband Harry Jamieson who had Dementia . Not seen you for a while but think off the Carers who did so much for Harry ,thank you you were one of the best .❤️Xx


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.