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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.


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….

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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.



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.

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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.”

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:

Join our FREE 3 week ESOL Summer School Programme this June! Ideal for those who have little or no English.

ESOL Summmer 2016Apply here:


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]West College Scotland has the following conference facilities available:

Opening Times

Monday 7.45am – 6.00pm
Tuesday 7.45am- 9.00pm
Wednesday 7.45am- 7.00pm
Thursday 7.45am- 6.00pm
Friday 7.45am- 5.00pm

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Paisley is set to welcome a tartan army at the weekend when a record entry of up to 4,000 pipers and drummers descends on the town for one of the biggest dates in world piping.


The 2016 British Pipe Band Championships are starting a three-year run in the town, with a crowd of tens of thousands expected at the St James Playing Fields, better known as the home of local amateur football.


Some of the world’s top pipers, from throughout the UK and Ireland, will take to the competition arena before judges from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

The event will be open from 9am, with bands competing throughout the day with the final march-past and prizegiving running for an hour from 5.30pm.

And event chieftain – Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall – met with lone piper Alan McGeoch of Johnstone Pipe Band at the venue.

She said: “We are thrilled to be hosting this prestigious event here in Paisley – being able to attract and host major events like this is another boost for the town as momentum builds on the bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

“I am sure the sight of 4,000 pipers and drummers lined up for the final march-past will be a spectacular one and I am honoured to be a part of it.

“It should be a great boost for local traders to have so many visitors arriving in town and I would encourage the bands and their supporters to head into the town centre and experience all it has to offer.”

RSPBA chief executive Ian Embelton added: “The British Pipe Band Championships is the first of the five major events we run each summer, including the world championships and we are delighted to be coming to Paisley for the first time.

“This year’s event will have a record entry, which we are really pleased with, and we are looking forward to a great championships.

“Renfrewshire Council has laid on a great day of entertainment and I would encourage anybody looking for a family day out to come down.”

Attractions will include a food and drink village featuring international cuisine and Scottish fayre as well as a fully-licensed bar.

Other free entertainment will include a Highland dancing competition, and sporty activities run by Renfrewshire Leisure and by the Street Stuff youth team, plus face painting, giant games, crazy golf and a bouncy castle.

Designated event parking will be at West College Scotland, the Paisley 2021 stadium, Paisley Grammar School and Castlehead High School.

Visitors should be aware there will be no on-site parking at the St James Playing Fields for the public – this will be for pipe band coaches and event officials only.

Free shuttle buses will run directly to the event site throughout the day from West College Scotland, the Paisley 2021 Stadium, and Paisley Gilmour Street station. Full details are at

The full running order for the day, showing all bands, grades and timings, is now available at

Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 ambitions had a resounding public show of support at the launch of a new drive to let everyone connected to the town take their place at the heart of the bid.

Here are some photographs taken on Thursday of the launch for the brand book. To download a full version of the brand book including usable marketing material, logos and information about the bid, visit

Many thanks to David Weir of for taking the photographs.

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Recruitment now ongoing for Prince’s Trust Team programme which starts at West College Scotland on Monday 16th May 2016.  The course is aimed at 16 to 25-year-olds and runs for 12 weeks.

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The Team programme is an action packed 12 weeks for young people to help build self-confidence and motivation. For further details please click here.

Applications are now open for part time courses starting in August at West College Scotland.  There are also some short courses available with varying start dates.

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For a list of which courses are available please click here