Navy Chef Wins Regional Learning Award
A Royal Navy chef has proved to be the cream of the crop in the South for her exceptional performance in achieving Skills for Life qualifications in literacy and numeracy.
Logistician (Catering Services) Marrie Bellingy is originally from the island of Saint Vincent in the Caribbean and has been named learndirect’s Outstanding Learner of the Year for the Army and Navy, beating off competition from 104 Service learning centres. She will now go forward to the national finals as one of 12 nominees for the People’s Choice Awards.
The 32-year-old, who serves on HMS St Albans at Portsmouth Naval Base speaks Creole, a form of broken English, and had felt it held her back when writing menus and interacting with the rest of her team.
However, a year after completing City & Guilds levels one and two in literacy at the Waterfront Interactive Learning Centre at Portsmouth Naval Base, Marrie says her confidence has soared.
“With my first language being Creole I was finding it hard when I was writing the menus and talking to people because I was worried people wouldn’t understand me,” she said. “It was really holding me back so I went to the centre and the staff there helped me with my courses and to be honest it has changed my life.
“Now I feel much more confident both when I’m at work and at home. I had to be really motivated and sometimes it was hard juggling my studying with my job and my family life but I would do my homework at the same time as the kids so it has had a positive effect on all of us.
“The staff at the centre were fantastic – anything I didn’t understand at home I could bring in with me the next day and they would go through it all with me. I can’t thank them enough.”
Marrie, who has completed level one in Maths and is starting level two, also encouraged her fiancée Sergeant Joesphus Thomas of 17 Port Maritime Regiment to take an English course with learndirect and helps their three children Veronique, 14, Elvis, 10 and Chris, 6, with their homework.
Her achievement also coincided with learndirect’s tenth anniversary of teaching in Portsmouth, with hundreds of Service personnel among their numbers every year.
Waterfront Learning Centre manager Susan Gould said:
“We are all just so very happy for Marrie, she has worked so hard over the last year in her numeracy and literacy and she has got the recognition of her efforts she deserves. It is a brilliant achievement for her.”
HMS St Albans Commanding Officer Commander Tom Sharpe, added:
“It just goes to show how important it is for Royal Navy personnel to take advantage of the fantastic opportunities available.
“We are away at sea so much of the time that they really have to work so much harder and be much more motivated than normal. We are all extremely proud of Marrie and of the contribution she makes every day to the effective running of the galley.”