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Business blends with learning

This week marked another step in the strengthening of ties between Scotland's Colleges and the business sector.

Nicol Stephen, the Lifelong Learning Minister, presided over the engagement at a conference on Wednesday in Edinburgh, which focused in particular on the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

It was held under the umbrella of the latest acronym in Scottish education, ECOSME (Enhancing CollegeSME Blended Learning Networks).

Speaking in advance of the conference, Mr Stephen said: "The college sector has a wealth of knowledge which can be successfully shared with Scotland's business community. I want to see colleges and SMEs continuing to work closely together to bring the skills and expertise of both sectors together, helping to grow Scotland's economy."

The latest concept of "blended learning" combines media ranging from online and face-to-face approaches to workshops and video-based learning.

Craig Thomson, principal of the Adam Smith college in Fife, said that, while the focus of the ECOSME project has been national, its impact will be local. "New methodologies and practices have been developed, including those using new communications and learning technologies," he said.

"These will help to extend support for learning in small businesses - with direct impact on and benefit to the businesses involved. ECOSME is good news for Scotland's Colleges."

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