Scotland's colleges set out five-year plan

Scottish FE sector aims to support the economy, increase diversity and help tackle impact of Brexit

Julia Belgutay

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Scotland’s colleges have pledged to increase the diversity of their workforce. In the sector’s Statement of Ambition for 2018-2023, published by Colleges Scotland and launched by FE minister Richard Lochhead today, colleges say they want to “redress wider societal imbalances in the workforce by reflecting Scotland’s diversity in our staff members and students in terms of disability, ethnicity, age, other protected characteristics, and the care experienced population".

They also promise to “help redress gender imbalance in the workforce by extending successful practices, for example, to encourage and retain women in [science, technology, engineering and maths] and to do likewise for men by capitalising on the early learning and childcare expansion”.

Knowledge and skills

According to the document, there are also plans to develop “a more coherent, collaborative regional curriculum with local authorities, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, schools and universities to develop knowledge and skills for life and work” and be “the linchpin that helps realise the Scottish government’s ambitions for widening access to education, while supporting people and communities facing the most barriers”.

Regional Partnership arrangements to effectively support the Scottish government’s ambitions as set out in the Enterprise and Skills Review are also planned, along with a “sector strategy to mitigate the repercussions to our communities of Brexit”.

According to Colleges Scotland, colleges support people of all ages to obtain technical, professional and vocational education and skills to reach their potential and progress into further study, training or employment. “We provide opportunities for all people and put learners at the heart of everything we do,” said the Statement of Ambition.

Quality of learning

Colleges Scotland chair Ken Milroy said: “The Statement of Ambition has developed from a recognition that Scotland’s economy and labour market is changing at such pace as to be labelled the fourth industrial revolution; that individuals seeking education, skills and training are demanding a more personalised and flexible learner journey; and that Scotland’s colleges will deliver across these and other priorities by ensuring that our strategy is bold, progressive and ambitious."

He added the document highlighted the importance of colleges to inclusive economic growth and demonstrated how the sector can continue to meet the evolving needs of learners and employers.

FE, HE and science minister Richard Lochhead said Scotland had "the most qualified population in Europe, and the quality of learning and level of equality across the college sector has never been higher".

“I welcome this statement of ambition which will drive forward innovation in the sector while protecting the environment of equality and excellence our colleges are already known for.”

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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