News at a glance

16th August 2013 at 01:00

Green light for Stirling conservation centre

A National Conservation Centre (NCC), which will deliver a new range of qualifications and informal learning, will be set up in Stirling. Historic Scotland announced that it has received initial backing for the proposed institution with a grant of #163;3.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the Scottish government will contribute a further #163;3 million from its Young Scots Fund. Research and education will be key objectives of the NCC, in which it will seek to be a world leader. It will aim to disseminate good practice and raise awareness of the importance of traditional materials and skills, particularly seeking to develop those skills in young people.

Authorities join forces to build schools

Local authorities across Scotland are now collaborating on construction projects in an attempt to repeat savings achieved in a schools pilot project by the Scottish Futures Trust, the trust has announced. East Renfrewshire and West Midlothian saved around #163;4 million by jointly commissioning the building of high schools in Eastwood and Lasswade. They established a joint procurement team, appointed joint legal advisers, adopted similar interior design features and were able to benefit from economies of scale. Both schools are due to open this month. About 20 other local authorities are now working together on similar projects.

St Andrews students: well satisfied!

Students at the University of St Andrews are the most satisfied in Scotland with their educational experience, according to figures from the National Student Survey. With 93 per cent of students saying they were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of their education, St Andrews not only ranks top of the multi-faculty universities in Scotland, but also beats institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge to come second in the UK behind the University of Bath. It was also the only Scottish university in the top 10.

Investment in world's future leaders

The Scottish government has announced #163;60,000 of investment into 33Fifty: The Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme, which is being delivered by the Royal Commonwealth Society and international leadership development organisation Common Purpose. A total of 100 18- to 25-year-olds from Scotland and the Commonwealth will take part in a four-day workshop to develop their leadership skills and networks, while being supported by mentors. It is hoped this will enable them to make a difference in their home countries. The scheme's name comes from the fact that 33 per cent of the world's population lives in the Commonwealth and 50 per cent of those are under 25.

DofE candidates feel they have the edge

Exam results in Scotland this year may have been better than ever, but four out of five Duke of Edinburgh's Award participants still feel the award will help them to secure employment. One-fifth of the 16- to 18-year-olds questioned in the youth development charity's survey, 5 per cent of whom were from Scotland, said that they took on the DofE challenge because they believe good results are not enough to secure a job or a place at university. Peter Westgarth, chief executive of the award scheme, commented: "These findings demonstrate the importance of helping young people to develop soft skills as well as academic qualities to enable them to feel prepared for the 'real world'."

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