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'Angus Interns' wins college top FE award

Angus College won two of the top accolades at this year's further education annual awards, run by Scotland's Colleges.

It picked up the prize for professional learning and enhancement, which recognised its efforts to improve the experience of its staff through a work-shadowing scheme known as "Angus Interns".

The college also took the customer service award for its "influencing the influencers" approach, which ensures that school guidance and careers staff understand what the college has to offer.

The student learning award went to Cardonald College, for its efforts to support Amy McGrandles whose determination to study languages saw her achieve three modern-language Highers, despite being blind and suffering from arthritis and Asperger's Syndrome. It was "an extraordinary level of achievement," the judges said.

The efforts of Anniesland College to promote equality and diversity saw it come top in that category. Its "dance for all" project aims to promote understanding and respect between groups of students, using "physical, mental and social benefits of dance" as the vehicle.

Other awards went to Elmwood College for its golf education project with China, and to North Highland College for its partnership with the Dounreay nuclear decommissioning plant which sponsors students on advanced-level engineering courses at the college.

Meanwhile, in "awards month", Aberdeen College was having a double celebration. It was the only Scottish college to take the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education among the 21 UK universities and FE colleges which were honoured. The award acknowledges it as a "world class leader" in providing training and innovation in the oil and gas industries.

It was also the only Scottish winner in the Association of Colleges Beacon Award, open to all colleges throughout the UK - in recognition of its efforts to reach out to more than 400 adults who had not previously attended college. The courses, featured in The TESS (November 6), are run at five fire stations in co-operation with the Grampian Fire and Rescue Service.

Edinburgh Napier was the only Scottish university to win a prize, for pioneering "ground-breaking noise insulation techniques".

Finally, Central College in Glasgow claims to be the first in Scotland to gain a five-star rating for excellence, benchmarked against the best in Europe. Assessors from the European Foundation for Quality Management reached their judgment after what was described as a "rigorous" three-day visit to "Team Central" last year. The EFQM grades private and public- sector organisations in nine key areas such as leadership, staff, customer service and key performance results.

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