West College Scotland has become the UK’s first college to take the Stand Alone Pledge, a demonstration of the College’s commitment to supporting estranged students across the West region and beyond.

Stand Alone is a charity that exists to support the 1 in 5 people of all ages across the UK who become estranged or disowned from their family or a key family member at some point throughout their lives. Research by the charity has found that estranged students are 3 times more likely to drop out of education than the average student due to pressure, stress and isolation.

The Stand Alone Pledge is an initiative to promote greater awareness and support for estranged students in education. The College joins nearly 40 UK universities – including Glasgow, Strathclyde and the West of Scotland – by signing the Stand Alone Pledge and becoming a “champion institution”.

West College Scotland will now work closely with Stand Alone to promote the College’s best practice to other champion institutions and to continuously improve its own support for estranged students by learning from others.

Audrey Cumberford, the Principal of West College Scotland, said:

“At West College Scotland, we are committed to continuously supporting our students achieve their potential and improving the student journey. By taking the Stand Alone Pledge, we renew that commitment to our estranged students.

“We are delighted to be the first college in the UK to take the pledge and look forward to working with Stand Alone and our colleagues across the further and higher education sectors to continue to break down barriers to education for our students.”

Susan Mueller, Project Director of Stand Alone, added:

“I am delighted that West College Scotland has taken the Stand Alone Pledge to continuously develop support for estranged students – the first college in the UK to do so.

“I very much look forward to working with Audrey and the staff at the College, now and in the future, to ensure estranged students have the support to succeed in further and higher education.”

Paisley Students are going places after completing a 5 day intensive fast track Swissport course.

A new course at our Paisley campus has had staggering achievement rates with 91% of the successful students being offered employment with Swissport at Glasgow airport.  

The Award Airport Services and Ground Operations course, which is delivered over just 5 days  from West College Scotland’s Paisley Campus, trains students in airport services and ground handling, including ticketing, seating methods, check in and boarding requirements.

 

Carol Gaffney, Curriculum and Quality Leader at the College’s Paisley campus explains how West College Scotland is part of the Swissport Academy of Colleges.  She says, ‘This particular fast track course offers a direct link to employment with Swissport at Glasgow Airport and this cohert is just one example of the many students that have successfully  gained employment over the past few years. Due to this success, the College aims to grow our portfolio of courses to continue to provide a strong pool of instantly employable candidates to the Academy.’

 

Student Rangeen Chamosaid, 30 from Clydebank said, ‘I applied for the Award in Airport Services & Ground Operations and was invited to an induction to see what was involved. I really enjoyed theshort course and the welcoming atmosphere at West College Scotland. I hadn’t studied for a long time, but I need not have worried as the tutors were easy to talk to and alleviated any concerns I had. They were all so knowledgeable! I would recommend this course to anyone.’

 

Allison Logan, Trainer from Swissport UK said ‘This course has helped the cohert immensely with obtaining employment with us as they had prior knowledge of what was expected of them in their role and a sound knowledge of the basic functions that they would be performing on a day to day basis.’

 

Carol added, ‘The Swissport commercial course was  a great success, the group were all very hard working, determined to succeed and a pleasure to teach and had a wide range of skills and attributes between them.

We are delighted that so many of them are now finding their way into the exciting world of work at the airport and employment by Swissport the leading global ground handling and cargo provider.’

 

The Swissport Academy is an exciting concept in the UK offering a number of colleges great benefits to lecturers and students. As a company Swissport employs over 60,000 people worldwide in hundreds of different job roles. In terms of employment opportunities at Swissport Glasgow, they recruit temporary staff every summer; for passenger services and dispatch roles, this can equate to 40-50 people.

 

Allison added, ‘We are sure all those who have been offered employment will be hard working, conscientious and will work well as part of the team here at Glasgow.’

 

The next 5 day fast track course commences at our Paisley Campus on the 15 March.

For more information on the course or to apply click here.

Opportunity for Renfrewshire’s Employers to Help College Build A Modern Workforce

Scotland’s largest college is kicking off 2018 by launching the West of Scotland Skills Survey. The regional employer skills survey, the first of its kind to be conducted by a Scottish college or university, is a new way the College is engaging with businesses in Renfrewshire to help build a modern workforce.

Launching online today, the West of Scotland Skills Survey will gather the views and experiences of employers in the West region – focusing on their skills, workforce and business support needs. The findings of the sector-leading research will then be used to better inform the work of the College and their efforts to tackle the skills gap.

The West of Scotland Skills Survey is open to employers of all sizes in Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire – and closes on Friday 9 March. Leaders in education, local government and business are urging employers across Renfrewshire to participate in this opportunity to boost skills and bolster the regional economy.

Audrey Cumberford, the Principal of West College Scotland, said:

“As Scotland’s largest college and a leader in the region we serve, West College Scotland is committed to working with partners and employers to build a modern workforce, sustain a thriving economy and help people achieve their potential.

“The West of Scotland Skills Survey is just one way that we are engaging with employers in Renfrewshire and across our region to ensure that the West is able to overcome the challenges and grasp the opportunities of a competitive global economy.

“I would urge employers across Renfrewshire to participate in our sector-leading research to help us tackle the skills gap and build a modern workforce.”

Cllr Iain Nicolson, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said:

“We are committed to growing the local economy by creating new job opportunities in Renfrewshire and removing barriers to employment.

“Renfrewshire has the fourth best youth employment rate in Scotland and we are developing a reputation as a place of enterprise, creativity and drive, home to a highly-skilled workforce making a vital contribution to the local and national economy.

“West College Scotland plays a key role in this and we are working closely with the College and with business and education leaders across Renfrewshire to develop a long-term economic strategy. The findings from this innovative skills survey will provide further important information and help inform our collective approach to drive Renfrewshire’s future economic success.”

Bob Grant, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, added:

“Getting the right people, with the right skills, in the right jobs is one of the biggest challenges facing employers no matter what sector or industry they operate in. Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce welcomes West College Scotland’s latest initiative to support employers across the region.

“The West of Scotland Skills Survey gives employers across Renfrewshire the opportunity to have their voice heard, to shape the College curriculum and to help build a modern workforce. I’d urge all local employers – no matter how big or small they are – to participate in this important work.”

Hospitality Students Receive Standing Ovation from over 300 Guests!

Talented Hospitality students prepare 1200 canapés for the prestigious Scottish Chefs Conference 2017 and receive a standing ovation.

This year’s Scottish Chef’s Conference, which brings together chefs, college lecturers and students from all over Scotland and showcases demonstrations from Michelin starred chefs took place at the Hilton by Double Tree Hotel on Monday 6 November 2017.

At the evening reception, 300 guests including Chef Albert Roux and Master Chef winner Gary McLean, sat down to enjoy a five course gourmet dinner with champagne.

Fifteen of the Paisley campus hospitality students prepared, cooked and served a total of 1200 mouth-watering canapés within two hours! Yes, you read correctly 1200 canapés in two hours!

Christopher Watson, Curriculum Enhancement Lecturer for Hospitality at our Paisley campus said, ‘Part of the theatre’, when cooking the canapés, was that the students had to cook the them live in front of the guests.’

The canapé selection included: Seared Shetland scallop/Celeriac, crab & coconut slaw and a Mini venison slider with tomato chutney and a toasted brioche bun.

One of our students – Sagar Massey, who recently scooped the Paisley campus ‘Hospitality Student of the Year’ award entered a live audience salmon competition where he had to fillet, skin, portion and cook a side of salmon within a 15-minute deadline.

We are delighted to report that Sagar not only won the heats, but he was placed 2nd out of 10 different college entries.

Christopher added, ‘This was a very prestigious event as there were 300 chefs attending the dinner – so no pressure there. The students received fantastic feedback from the guests.’

Sagar commented, ‘I think we were all quite nervous as we’d never cooked for so many people before. It all went alright on the night though and it was a great experience.’

Jav Aziz, Executive Head Chef for Elior UK said, ‘The students worked very hard front of house and behind the scenes to produce tasty and well-presented canapés. The College must be very proud of its students and lecturers.’

After serving the canapés, five of the students were asked to stay behind to help out in the main kitchen with the 5 course gourmet dinner. They impressed the head chef so much with their enthusiasm and standard of work that he offered them all a job!!  In addition to this, one of our younger students was also offered a scholarship working with the Scottish Culinary Team, which will involve her travelling the world to compete in major cooking competitions. Next year alone the team will be travelling to London, Luxemburg and Kuala Lumpur.

All of the students who took part in the evening reception were invited on stage at the end of the event to receive a standing ovation from 300 happy customers.

Kathleen Monaghan from Inspire Catering commented, ‘The students did an amazing job and the canapés were fantastic! We are always on the lookout for talented chefs and there could be the possibility to open up some opportunities for the students.’

Well done to our Hospitality students!

If you’d like to get into Hospitality, we have several access courses starting in January across our three campuses. Click here to browse and apply.

Renfrewshire businesses are forming specialist teams to grow six key sectors of the local economy.

RDC Business Panel UWS 28.8.17

Members of Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel – which brings together the region’s business and education experts – have identified the six target areas of culture, health and childcare, manufacturing, skills, tourism and transport.

Now plans are in place to create six groups who will meet in January as they formulate specific strategies for each area of emphasis.

The Leadership Panel was established in the summer to drive Renfrewshire’s future economic success. Its membership is drawn from companies large and small across the area together with representatives from the public sector, further and higher education and national agencies.

Its first task is to support the development of a long-term economic strategy for Renfrewshire from 2018-2035 and the sector specific groups will play a key role.

Audrey Cumberford, Principal and Chief Executive of West College Scotland and Chair of the Renfrewshire Economic Leadership Panel said: “This panel is about taking action and about each organisation recognising its responsibility to develop Renfrewshire’s economic potential.

“These teams will focus on areas we know are hugely important to Renfrewshire’s economic health and will ensure people with the right knowledge and expertise play their part in accelerating the area’s economic fortunes.”

These latest developments come as Councillors on the Leadership Board today (Tuesday 12 December, 2017) approved a new Renfrewshire Economic Profile, providing bitesize data on how the local economy is faring.

The six-monthly snapshot will be shared online and give councillors a handy tool to track local progress.

The example November 2017 profile shows Renfrewshire’s employment rate at 74.7 per cent, outstripping the Glasgow City Region and higher than the Scottish average.

It also shows a five per cent unemployment rate, again bettering the national position, with average weekly earnings £14 up on the average Scot.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are committed to putting the measures in place which attract new jobs and opportunities to Renfrewshire. The Economic Leadership Panel provides vital strategic direction and the formation of these new teams are most welcome to devise specific plans for these six hugely important sectors to the Renfrewshire economy.

“It is only through partnership working that we can achieve our collective goals and at the same time having this regular profile of our economic performance enables us to make the strategic directions to deliver a thriving Renfrewshire.”

Business leaders welcome National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland to Renfrewshire

Renfrewshire’s business community has welcomed the news that Scotland’s National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) will be established in Renfrewshire.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday (Monday 11 December) announced the industry-led institute will be built on Abbotsinch Road, next to Glasgow Airport, and will become the anchor tenant of a new 130-acre business and manufacturing innovation district in Renfrewshire.

A collaborative project between the Scottish Government and national skills and enterprise agencies together with the University of Strathclyde and Renfrewshire Council, the Institute will bring together skills, expertise, research and innovation to attract investment and develop Scotland into a global leader in advanced manufacturing.

The enabling infrastructure of roads, bridges, cycleways and pedestrian routes are being delivered by Renfrewshire Council through the £39.1million Glasgow Airport Investment Area project, funded through the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

Chair of Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel, Audrey Cumberford, feels the new institute will allow Renfrewshire to realise its economic potential.

She said: “Choosing Renfrewshire as the base for the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland is a clear indication of the area’s potential to be a leading light in the global manufacturing sector.

“The levels of private investment this could bring to Renfrewshire cannot be underestimated and this will provide a substantial boost to the area’s economic growth.

“The investment, combined with the significant improvement to infrastructure in the area, will be a key contributor in making Renfrewshire a more attractive, vibrant and sustainable place to live, work, visit and invest in.”

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Bob Grant, has also welcomed the announcement citing the promise of thousands of new jobs coming into the area.

He said: “It is fantastic that Renfrewshire has been chosen as the home for the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and it is recognition of our growing position within the international manufacturing sector.

“Thousands of highly-skilled jobs are set to be created across the next 20 years in a boost to employment across the area, while also providing an opportunity to inspire young people into an exciting and rewarding career within the industry.

“New and existing businesses in the area will feel the benefit of the increase in skilled workers in Renfrewshire, as well as the expertise and technological advances the institute brings, as it aims to allow Scotland to compete globally in manufacturing.”

The announcement builds on the recent development of the £8.9million Lightweight Manufacturing Centre, set to open in May 2018 at the Doosan Babcock site in Westway, Renfrew.

The centre will develop new manufacturing processes for lightweight materials for the aerospace and automotive industries.

New Year, New You!

Say goodbye to the January blues by starting a new course at the Ferguslie Learning Centre.

Come along to our Open Day on the 11 January for more information on our courses – or take a look on our website for further information.

Tasty Courses Starting Soon

Don’t miss out on these two tasty courses starting December and January at West College Scotland’s Paisley campus.

Click here to apply:

Petits Fours (12 December) http://www.westcollegescotland.ac.uk/courses/course-directory/courses/hospitality-professional-cookery/learn-to-make-petits-fours-the-professional-way

Cake Decoration (21 January) http://www.westcollegescotland.ac.uk/courses/course-directory/courses/hospitality-professional-cookery/cake-decoration-an-introduction-2

For further information you can call Kathleen on 0141 842 1015.

http://www.westcollegescotland.ac.uk/communities-and-outreach/ferguslie-learning-centre/

**New course starting this November at Ferguslie! **


This is a very interactive course where learners will be working with others, pulling on strengths, identifying
weaknesses and working out an action plan to solve an issue.

This course will help to improve confidence, communication and team building skills.

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

COACHES from Kilbarchan Amateur Athletic Club ran out with a hat-trick of wins at the annual Renfrewshire Sports Awards.
Arthur Smith won both the Community Coach of the Year and Dedication to Sport awards along with John Rodger, who lifted the Event Volunteer of 2017 award.

Arthur has been a member of Kilbarchan AAC for more than 50 years and has been coaching young athletes for three decades, including Scottish internationalist, Laura Stark and GB runner, Jemma Reekie.
John has been involved with the club for more than 20 years and has been instrumental in the development of athletics – cross-country, road race and track and field events in Renfrewshire’s schools. He is also heavily involved in organising the popular annual Paisley 10k Race and Fun Run.

Other winners presented with awards at the event,organised by Renfrewshire Lerisure and held at a ceremony in Johnstone Town Hall, were – Development Coach of the Year, Susan Wright, who is head coach of Clyde Judo Club; Young Coach of the Year, Claire Scougall, who coaches Paisley Juniors Netball Club and Volunteer of the Year was won by Joanne McDowall, who has developed sporting activity at Barsail Primary, in Erskine.
Young Volunteer of the Year went to Lusia Steele, who delivers school health days at Barsail Primary and volunteers at the Johnstone Jets cycling club; Disability Coach of the Year is Rachel Killens, who is a disabled athlete herself and coaches swimmers with additional support needs.

And Jack Thomson, a referee at the Basketball Paisley Friday Night Superleague, West Regional Development League and other Scottish League games, won the Technical Official of the Year award.
The Honour Our School Sports Award was given to one student from every local secondary school who has shown commitment to sport. The winners were –
Alan Rice, Linwood High; Amy McCann, Renfrew High; Craig Kennedy, Park Mains High; Eilidh Murphy, Gleniffer High; Franca Paterson, St Andrew’s Academy; Gemma Whyte, St Benedict’s High; John Martin, Johnstone High; Mario Girasoli, Trinity High and Rebecca Telford, from Gryffe High.

A Level Six Award in Higher Sports Leadership was presented to Alan Rice, Calum Findlay, Emma Driver, Heather Fawcett and Laura-Rose Reid.
The special guest at the awards ceremony was Corinne Hutton, from Lochwinnoch who has defied the odds after having had both her hands and legs amputated when she suffered acute pneumonia and septicemia.
Since losing her limbs, Corinne has gone on to set three world records including becoming the first female quadruple amputee to climb Ben Nevis. She has also set up a charity called Finding Your Feet to support families affected by amputation, or limb differences through a range of sporting and social inclusion initiatives.

Corinne took to the stage for a Question and Answer Session with the event host, broadcaster Lorraine Herbison.

Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa Marie Hughes said: “These awards showcase the talent, dedication and commitment of individuals in our community.

“With Paisley’s bid to become UK city of Culture 2021, sport plays a large role in the culture of our community. We have a vibrant and exciting sports network in Renfrewshire, which adds energy and passion to the overall bid.”
The successful event was sponsored by Renfrewshire Council, West College Scotland, Renfrewshire Sports Network, and SportScotland.