There must be something in the air in Blantyre, bounded by the rivers Clyde and Rotten Calder in south Lanarkshire, which inspires self-education.
Birthplace of David Livingstone, self-taught and the first European to clap eyes on what he named the Victoria Falls, it was also in the spotlight this week as the workplace of Scotland's Union Learner of the Year.
This is the story of one-time homeless Robert Higgins of Wishaw who has been working as a cleaner at the First Bus Depot in Blantyre for the last seven years.
Earlier this year, he approached the learning rep at his union Unite, Ewan McLean, in the workplace learning centre and asked for help with his literacy and numeracy skills.
"I never went to school," says Higgins. "I could not read or count and would be lucky to recognise numbers above 15, but there was nothing wrong with my work ... I just remembered the buses I had cleaned by memory instead of filling out a checklist."
In April Unite arranged for Adam Smith College - way over in Kirkcaldy - to provide a tutor once a week to travel to the First Learning Centre in Blantyre.
The aim was to assist the centre's staff with literacy and numeracy and it was arranged through support from the Development Fund - and McLean encouraged Higgins to attend.
McLean said: "On Robert's first day I introduced him to the tutor, Jennifer Haining, and gave her a bit of background to his situation.
"Mainly, he was unable to deal with money and every time he would go away from home on a trip, his partner had to split up his money into bags with exact money.
"There was one for the hotel, one for the train, and one for spending money, as he was unable to work out the cost and what change he should receive."
Over the weeks Higginshas progressed and is now able to recognise numbers in tens of thousands and add, multiply and divide. He has also been learning how to calculate and budget money.
"Robert gained his SVQ level 2 in reading and writing, and is currently working towards a SVQ level 2 in numeracy."
Higgins says: "At first, I was a wee bit scared, but you don't get treated like a child - you get treated like an adult.
"They show you how to do things the best way, and if you make a mistake, they help you go through it again and again. The support from my tutor and union has been just amazing."
Now there's no stopping him - he's working on measurement and time, ICT skills and he has bought a laptop.
He says: "I cannot believe I can do this now, after all those years of hiding it from friends, colleagues - and my son.
"Now I can recognise the fleet numbers on the buses and when I go away on my yearly trip, I can manage my own money."
"You can really see the difference union-supported learning has made to his self-confidence," says McLean. "He's talking to more people in the depot and is really enjoying his work a lot more."
Higgins has been named as second Learner of the Year by Scottish Union Learning, which is part of the Scottish TUC, nominated by Unite.
He presented with the award by Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary, at the Scottish Union Learning Conference in Falkirk last Wednesday.
Unite Scotland's education officer Jim Aitken says: "What Robert has achieved is nothing short of outstanding and his story epitomises everything that is good about trade union learning.
"Robert is a powerful example of how education can help transform lives; everyone at Unite is proud of him and this award is richly deserved."
The STUC's Smith adds: "Robert's story is truly inspirational, and is a wonderful example of the value of trade unions to their members and society."
Last word from Higgins - "I can't believe it. If my learning story even helps one person to do the same thing and access learning, all of this will be worth it. This has been the best year of my life."
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.