Established in 1948 as the School of Building, South Lanarkshire College has in the intervening 70 years of growth and development, positioned itself as a significant player in local and regional economic growth and renewal.  And its position as a place of lifetime learning, working in close partnership with industry, will be ever more important in the months and years ahead, as we look towards a post-COVID and post-Brexit landscape. 

Throughout its history, the college has blazed a trail in preparing students with career-focused qualifications which have clearly identified routes towards employment opportunities.  The college engages with over 1500 employers to support its industry-focused curriculum and students benefit from close partnership working with companies from all sectors, including sustainable construction, hospitality, travel and tourism and business and administration. The College offers a wide range of quality learning opportunities to over 5000 learners, with an absolute focus on South Lanarkshire from where over 70% of its students come.  The College must, therefore, be at the heart of social and economy recovery across the region.   

Aileen McKechnie, Principal and CEO of South Lanarkshire College, commented:

“South Lanarkshire College prides itself on delivering excellence.  Our ethos is to provide a holistic student experience which equips students to achieve their full potential and to progress in their chosen career.  We are currently the top performing college in Scotland for overall student achievement and sustainable student success sits at the core of all our ambitions. 

“We know that what our students learn must be aligned to the skills needs of current and future employers.  We are absolutely committed to continued close engagement with industry to understand current and future skills gaps and to fully incorporating this as part of our curriculum development.  We are proud to engage with over 1500 employers and to work with them and with our education partners to build a curriculum of over 200 courses across three faculties, playing a vital role in supporting people from all backgrounds to fulfil their social and economic potential. 

 “Throughout lockdown, our College continued to provide remote skills and training opportunities for all our students, and we had the highest student engagement levels across the college sector in Scotland.  In recent months and, despite the ongoing global pandemic, many of our students have successfully secured jobs with a range of employers in the public and private sectors including South and North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire Councils.

 “There are clear challenges as we look ahead, including how to ensure our College meets the needs of the local economy, playing a full role in local and regional revival, as well as in Scotland’s skills-led recovery.

Aileen added: “I am ambitious for my college. I recognise the potential for growth and the opportunity for us to play the fullest role across the regional economy, particularly important at this time. I am passionate about the positive impact – on both individuals and on the economy – which lifetime learning can offer.

“I am proud of the difference we make to so many across the region and beyond.

This article appears as part of The Herald's The Future Of Education campaign, in association with South Lanarkshire College.

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