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Customer Services Principles and Practices – Starting Tuesday 25 October


**Starting Tuesday 25 October at Ferguslie!**

Customer Services Principles and Practices (SQA Certificated Level 5).


This course will help you understand the personal factors and skills required in making a positive first impression with customers and dealing with customers’ needs. It’ll help you develop good communication and effective listening skills too. Day/Time: Tuesday 1pm- 3.30pm (12 weeks).

To book a place or for further information email  Kathleen.Brown@wcs.ac.uk or call 0141 842 1015.

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Business leaders hear of Council’s integrated approach to economic regeneration and tackling poverty


Business leaders met with a senior team from Renfrewshire Council this week to hear about the local authority’s plans to boost the region’s profile and economy.


At an event hosted by Amanda McMillan, Chief Executive Officer of AGS Airports – operator of Glasgow Airport, business leaders from some of Renfrewshire’s biggest companies heard about the Council’s wide ranging plans for economic regeneration and tackling poverty.

Renfrewshire Council leader Mark Macmillan was joined at the event by directors from companies including Diageo, Gas Measurement Systems, Gordon Leslie Group, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intu Braehead, Malcolm Group, Scottish Leather Group, Spectrum Service Solutions, and Thermo Fisher.

Representatives from organisations such as Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, University of the West of Scotland, and West College Scotland also attended.

Attendees were presented with a copy of the Council’s new draft economic framework, which draws together existing strategies and initiatives to drive the region’s economy forward during the next two years. The draft framework will be the subject of a series of consultations with stakeholders from the private, public and third sectors, with this week’s event being the latest in that series.

Council Leader Macmillan said: “We want Renfrewshire to prosper and grow, and we have a great number of assets within our region to help us achieve that goal. We want to create more and better jobs for local people through supporting growing businesses, attracting new investment and ensuring the foundations are in place to sustain the economy in the long term.

“Working with our partners, we can collectively build Renfrewshire’s profile both nationally and internationally, as part of the wider Glasgow City region and cement our position as Scotland’s economic powerhouse.

“Our Economic Framework provides a clear sense of direction and will be instrumental in achieving a fairer, more inclusive Renfrewshire where all our people, communities and businesses thrive.”

Central to the economic rejuvenation of Renfrewshire is its participation in the Glasgow City Region City Deal, which will deliver an investment of £274 million for Renfrewshire in infrastructure projects. The region’s three projects will create thousands of jobs, a new bridge linking Renfrew to the north side of the river, an investment area with Glasgow Airport at its heart, and the long-awaited rail link between Glasgow Airport and the City Centre, via Paisley Gilmour Street.

The Council is fully committed to making these projects a reality in the near future and the Council leader met with the Transport Minister earlier this month to seek assurances that delivery of the Glasgow Airport Access Project is a priority for the Scottish Government.

Relative to the rest of Scotland, Renfrewshire boasts one of the best qualified populations and highest employment rates in the country. However, the region also has areas of significant deprivation within its boundaries and tackling these inequalities is a key focus of the Council.

That strategy includes Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, which aims to harness the town’s internationally significant collection of heritage and cultural assets to transform the region’s future. Paisley’s bid is already well under way with awareness of the long-lasting social, economic and cultural benefits which a successful bid would deliver, generating strong support.

Council Leader Macmillan continued: “Bidding for UK City of Culture in 2021 is a once in a generation opportunity to harness culture to help tackle poverty in some of our most deprived communities in Paisley and across Renfrewshire.

“Culture is an incredibly powerful tool in helping to inspire people and support them in realising their potential. We want to give everybody in Renfrewshire the motivation and support they need to feel good about themselves and achieve their own ambitions in life.

“The UK City of Culture bid also has the capability to accelerate our economic vision as it will bring an estimated one million additional visitors to Renfrewshire, delivering significant stimulus to our tourism, creative and cultural economies.”

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Council set to team up with West College Scotland

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Renfrewshire Council is set to seal a wide-ranging strategic partnership with West College Scotland (WCS) aimed at boosting learning, jobs and innovation.

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The two organisations already cooperate extensively through the local community planning programme which brings together a number of public, private and third sector organisations.

Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board has backed proposals that the council and the college build on that joint working through the setting up of a strategic partnership.

A similar strategic partnership agreement was concluded earlier this year between the council and the University of West of Scotland (UWS).

Council and college representatives have identified four key themes where they believe they can deliver ambitious priorities which will improve the wellbeing and life chances of the college’s students and the wider Renfrewshire community.

The four main strategic themes relate to place, economy and jobs, learning, and expertise and innovation.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said:  “These are a lot of positive changes happening in Renfrewshire and we want to continue deliver on that progress.

“There are exciting possibilities arising from Renfrewshire’s role at the heart of the £1.13billion Glasgow City Region City Deal. “Renfrewshire is driving forward new approaches to town centre regeneration, attracting jobs and investment, and giving people and communities increased opportunities.

“And Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is showcasing the continuing relevance of our unique cultural and architectural heritage as a driver of economic growth for the future.

“West College Scotland is playing a key role in the partnership effort that is committed to delivering that progress – particularly in areas such as digital skills, raising attainment and boosting innovation.

“We see an opportunity to deliver even more through a new partnership with WCS.

“In this very difficult funding era for all public bodies, we all need to be imaginative and focus our resources on high priority areas of common interest where joint working will deliver public value.

“The themes we have prioritised focus on the opportunities we want to give our community throughout their lives, in education and employment, in providing an attractive location for investment and innovation, and in enhancing the distinctive appeal of Renfrewshire at home and abroad.”

West College Scotland Principal Audrey Cumberford, said:  “This is an exciting development for the people of Renfrewshire and for West College Scotland.  As a College, we offer our communities the skills, training and qualifications to boost job opportunities, as well as local economic growth.  We are already deeply committed to many local regeneration and educational projects and this Strategic Partnership underlines that commitment.”

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Council leader wants unis and colleges to join jobs and business push

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Scotland’s universities and colleges can do more to work with local authorities to support new and existing businesses, according to Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan.

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The Council Leader will meet with members of the Scottish Universities Research and Commercialisation Group in Paisley today (Tues 13 Sept) to outline the planned investment for the Glasgow City Region City Deal to bring major employment opportunities to the West of Scotland.

Scottish Universities work with around 30,000 businesses a year – a third of these from outwith Scotland and provide a range of services and support – from meeting and events space to advice for innovative companies, learning and development for employees as well as a range of consultancy services.

Councillor Mark Macmillan said:“We want to work closely with our universities and colleges to capitalise on all the benefits they can bring, whether that’s in equipping students now with the skills required for the future or helping create the conditions in which new business ventures and entrepreneurs thrive.

“The economic climate and financial challenges we face in a post Brexit world mean we need to ensure we equip ourselves for change so we can compete in an increasingly global market  and have the right partnerships in place to support our local businesses and communities through those changes.

“We need to work together to ensure we are constantly re-imagining our offering to both the students of today and the entrepreneurs of tomorrow to ensure our support to business does not stand still and remains of value.”

Renfrewshire Council recently signed a new partnership agreement with the University of the West of Scotland which secures commitment to work on shared priorities around education and skills, employment and investment. A similar agreement is planned this autumn with the Paisley-based  West College Scotland.

Councillor Macmillan added: “We have ambitious plans for Renfrewshire and the West of Scotland but we can only maximise the benefits of those plans for the people who live and work here if we work together.”

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Places are still available on the following courses at our Ferguslie Learning Centre:
Working with Others
Basic Customer Service
Exploring Wellbeing
Travel and Tourism

Call Kathleen on 0141 842 1015 for further information or to apply.


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West College Scotland – Ferguslie Open Day


West College Scotland are pleased to report that  over 60 people come along to their Ferguslie Open Day last week. The good news is that they still have places left on a few courses.


Browse the Learning Programme here:

For further information or to book a place call Kathleen on 0141 842 1015.

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Renfrewshire Council’s jobs drive cuts unemployment by 43%

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New figures show Renfrewshire Council initiatives have almost halved unemployment among local people.

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Over the last six years the number of Renfrewshire residents claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit has dropped by 43%.

More than 2,000 adults have found work, bringing the overall unemployment rate down to 5.8%. The reduction is most marked amongst young people with the number of 18 to 24 year olds, who are claiming unemployment entitlement, dropping by 60%. Currently there are 620, 18 to 24 year olds out of work, a fall of 920 since 2010.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said, “The massive improvement in the unemployment figures is largely down to the efforts of Renfrewshire Council. Year on year we have been getting people into real jobs with real prospects.

“Our drive to end youth unemployment has paid particular dividends. We’ve seen a 60% drop in the number of 18 to 24 year olds claiming unemployment benefit.

“It is one of the most basic lessons of economics that getting people back into work is the best way to kick-start the economy. People who have jobs, which pay a decent wage, have the means to buy goods and services. This supports and creates other jobs in a virtuous circle.”

Invest in Renfrewshire is one of the key Renfrewshire Council programmes which offers a range of funding packages, designed to boost the local economy and help companies grow.

The business growth fund can pay up to 50% of costs of specific projects, up to a maximum of £10,000 while employer recruitment incentives help businesses meet the costs of hiring an unemployed young person for a new post.

Under the scheme, Invest in Renfrewshire pays 50% of their wage bill, at national minimum wage, for up to 40 hours a week for a maximum of 39 weeks. An extra £1,000 is available for companies paying the Living Wage of £7.50 per hour. Some 900 firms are signed up to the Renfrewshire Recruitment Incentive scheme. The jobs created must be new, additional to existing staff and, importantly, permanent.

Invest in Renfrewshire also matches companies with unemployed graduates, helping businesses benefit from new ideas and skills.

Microloan funding is available to help existing small businesses grow. It offers unsecured loans of between £1,000 and £5,000. The West of Scotland loan fund offers loans of up to £50,000, which can be used for working capital, equipment or property.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available to help retail businesses improve their shop-fronts and interiors and help is also on offer to find new premises.

InCube is another key part of the Invest in Renfrewshire programme. InCube is a business incubator designed to give new businesses the best possible start in life. The services provided by InCube are backed, quite literally, by a shop window for the unique goods created by local entrepreneurs.

The InCube shop itself has revitalised a vacant unit on Paisley’s Gilmour Street and sells textiles, paintings, jewellery, accessories, hats and children’s clothes.

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Maggie Praises Ferguslie Duo!

Maggie Smith (1)


Fifty Two year old Maggie Smith from Paisley tells how her Community Learning experience has improved not only her confidence,  but her career prospects after enrolling in a Customer Services Skills and Selling Skills course at local hub Ferguslie. She says she’s never had so much learning in all her life! Read on to find out more….

Maggie Smith (1)

Maggie said, ‘I left school with no qualifications, but I’d gone to college years ago where I got some O levels. I haven’t kept the best health and I found this very frustrating as I wanted to get back to work and find some normality.

Maggie added, ‘I’d been to Ferguslie before for some computing courses. I felt at ease that I knew where it was as I think going straight to College would have been too much especially with my health.’

After her computing courses Maggie started volunteering in her local community and has just taken on the role of Renfrewshire Digiteer; a project which was recently launched by Renfrewshire Libraries to support people with basic IT, using the Internet and emails and job searching online.

Ferguslie Learning Centre provides courses in the community all year round, and works in partnership with independent centres and local authorities. However what put Maggie really at ease was the staff at Ferguslie who made her learning experience so enjoyable and fulfilling. Ferguslie Centre Coordinator Kathleen Brown and Ethna McGhie, Lecturer at West College Scotland affectionately named by Maggie as ‘Kathna’- her Ferguslie favourites!

‘Kathleen and Ethna have just been absolute stars, ‘Maggie said, ‘they’ve been patient and kind – just lovely people.’

Maggie continued, ‘I’ve not kept good health, but I don’t like getting fussed over  or like the attention– but I can’t lie, it’s been a nice feeling to be looked after by these two lovely ladies! There is such a relaxed atmosphere and you are treated like an adult. The truth is I’ve never had so much fun learning in my LIFE! Everyone is there for the same aim – to get into employment. I’d definitely say I’ve gained more confidence since attending Ferguslie.

At a recent work experience the Customer Service Course visited the Premier Inn in Linwood, which Maggie found was an invaluable experience.

Maggie added, ‘It showed a good working model for customer service and it really brought the course to life.’

Lecturer Ethna McGhie commented, ‘It’s been a pleasure to teach Maggie over the past few months. She’s been motivated and an enthusiastic student. It’s been very humbling to see how far she has come and we wish her luck with her future course at the College.’

Maggie’s son is just starting his honours degree in business explained how she felt now was the right time for her.

‘I decided it was time to do something for me, so I’m enrolled to start Higher Psychology at the Clydebank campus in September. It’s always fascinated me how people make the decisions they make. I’m so excited and have everything all ready to go.

Kathleen Brown, Centre Administrator at Ferguslie said, ‘The Centre provides certificated learning opportunities at beginner’s levels within a friendly, community environment. The programme has been designed to assist adult learners who have little or no formal qualifications, which will help them increase their confidence and personal wellbeing, employability skills and career opportunities. Maggie’s success is just superb and it reinforces our commitment to community learning.’

What’s Maggie’s advice for anyone who’s looking to get back into learning? It’s simple.

‘Go speak to Kathleen the Centre Coordinator – the first step is always the hardest – but she will out you at ease. I jumped in with both feet   – I never check how deep the water is! If you are lucky to get a ‘Kathna’ combo, then you really have stuck gold…’

West College Scotland are hosting on open day on Thursday 25 August (9am-4pm) at the Ferguslie Learning Centre for those who want to know more about community courses.

Anyone wishing to sign up for a course will be able to do so there and then.



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Students Film Skills Impress Judges

CKUK Awards 2016 - Paisley Team 2 Mirin McAuley and Josh Allison

Learner Development students from West College Scotland have had their hard work rewarded at the Common Knowledge UK Awards in Glasgow.

CKUK Awards 2016 - Paisley Team 2 Mirin McAuley and Josh Allison

Students were tasked with producing, filming, and starring in films to raise awareness of subjects important to them.

This has been organised by Common Knowledge UK (CKUK), a charity that offers innovative learning, peer education, drama and safe social networking for people with learning difficulties. They strive to provide those they work with with the best quality learning, information and experiences that can be offered.

CKUK Awards 2016 - Paisley Team 3

This year marked another successful awards for all three of the College’s Campuses.

Students from Clydebank came away with awards for Best Teamwork, Best Male Performance, Runner up – Best Production, and the coveted People’s Choice Award.

Students were delighted with the result, with Tracy saying “it was great”, and Wendy calling the experience “amazing”.

Other students, including Andrew, “felt proud” of their achievements, with John commenting it was “excellent, I felt I really achieved something” and Gary saying he “proud of what we achieved.”

Patrick was “happy to be behind the scenes” while declaring “a lot of respect for those in front of the camera”.

Greenock Students came away with two prizes for acting, with Caitlin Campbell winning Best female performance, and Scott Cuffe runner-up for best male performance.

Caitlin, who played a murderer in the film said “I enjoyed the project and thought it was really interesting, I especially liked (pretending) to kill people.”

Greenock Learner Development Lecturer Jonathan McCafferty worked with the students on the project.

“The project is a great opportunity for our students to learn new skills and it also gives them the opportunity to genuinely co-operate with each other to achieve a wonderful end result. On the whole, the students had a great time and learned about all the various steps involved in making a movie.”

Student Ryan was very positive about the project, saying ‘It was good to learn new skills and I got paid in skittles.”
Those brave enough can watch Greenock’s film about the ‘dangers’ of technology here:

Paisley won Best Social Media Safety Message, with Heather Morrison, Curriculum Enhancement Lecturer in Learner Development, happy that this reflected the great work of all the team.

“The Peer Educator Programme is a great experience for students. This is the second year that 2nd Year Step class have been involved and it is something we intend to continue within the new term. hem had travelled far before and now both have the confidence to travel down to Greenock and over to Bridgeton with ease. They have made some good friends and intend to keep working with the CKUK team, with a residential hopefully in the summer.”

Mirin McAuley agreed that project really helped her confidence.

“The CKUK experience has really helped my confidence and I would recommend it to anyone. I have made some great friends and built up my skills. It will be a good thing to have on my C.V.”

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West College Scotland student awards

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West College Scotland Student Chefs Sagar Massey, 17 and Jordan McDougall, 19 were ecstatic to be ‘plaiced’ AND to be awarded a prize for the ‘Best Main Course’ at the Lincolnshire UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year final on Friday 10 June.

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Out of a total of 28 colleges that entered the UK competition, West College Scotland placed third – with Westminster College taking first and second place. Sagar and Jordan walked away with £1000 worth of prizes – knives, vouchers, cash and cook books, so a very good day all round!

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If you’d like to start your career in Hospitality we are still accepting applications for our August start courses: http://bit.ly/28KsZk1