Loans and grants

SLC’s longest serving employee recognised in King’s Birthday Honours List

Mary Edmiston, 63, from Bearsden, has been awarded an MBE for services to Higher Education in the King’s Birthday Honours list 2023.

The Payment Services Manager at the Student Loans Company (SLC), Mary joined the organisation in 1990 and is the longest serving member of staff.

Speaking about the recognition, the grandmother-of-two said: “I love working at SLC, and I just want to do my job to the best of my ability. To receive an MBE is a great honour, I never expected anything like this. It was a shock when I found out, I thought they had made a mistake.”

Mary is responsible for the team that provides payment readiness and assurance to the business, and in 2022/23 SLC paid £11 billion in loans and grants to new and existing students, as well as £11.5 billion tuition fees to higher and further education providers. Mary is dedicated to being a champion of students and played a key role in ensuring the uninterrupted payment service during the Covid-19 pandemic. She has also dedicated her own time to running hundreds of office fundraisers, supporting and raising awareness of local charities. She created SLC’s Angel Tree, an annual staff initiative which donates gifts to vulnerable children at Christmas.

She added: “Our goal is to ensure students receive their student finance. It’s so critical to their lives and it’s really important to me, and to SLC. When the pandemic hit, we had to quickly adapt to ensure that payments would continue to be made as normal – I am proud of the work we did, both in my team and across the organisation.”

Mary also cares for her mum, Isabella, as well as being Granny to Violet, 4, and Hana, 18 months. Her son, Graeme, was only two when she started at SLC.

She added: “SLC is a great place to work and while so much has changed, our core purpose remains the same. I’m just 33 years older. My SLC family and my own family are all very excited for me and very proud. It’s lovely to celebrate this with them and I’m looking forward to receiving my MBE. I just can’t believe it.”

Chris Larmer, CEO at SLC, has congratulated Mary on her MBE. He said: “SLC’s mission is to enable people to invest in their futures through further and higher education, and Mary manifests this in every aspect of her work.

“She is a continual champion for the voice of our customer – the UK’ students – and is a role model in inspiring other colleagues. I cannot think of a more worthy person to receive an MBE and everyone at SLC is delighted for her.”

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