ROBERT Gordon’s College, one of Scotland’s leading independent schools, has brought together some of the country’s smartest minds to launch RGC Online - a ground-breaking new education programme that supports the future growth of the Scottish tech ecosystem.

RGC Online also tackles a major talent shortage in the industry, with students across Scotland now able to study live-taught SQA accredited Higher Computing Science and Higher Applications of Mathematics - as well as additional tech-focused modules designed to equip young people with the skills required for future roles in the tech sector.

Certificates are awarded upon the completion of each module, which include: Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Cyber Security, Game Design, and Entrepreneurship. A new Quantum Computing module will be launched late 2023.

Championing a collaborative approach from within its global alumni network, Robert Gordon’s College has worked alongside tech industry experts and academic leaders from Robert Gordon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to develop the digital education programme.


Robin Macpherson, Head of Robert Gordon’s College, said: “RGC Online was created to offer students across Scotland opportunities to learn National Qualification courses that they might not otherwise be able to study.

“This is to create pathways into a career in the ever-expanding world of technology. Our own diploma programme courses sit alongside the Higher course and add value by teaching students about everything from Artificial Intelligence to Quantum Computing to Game Design. It’s a brilliant chance to think about what you want to do in life, and how to get there.

“At Robert Gordon’s College, we believe that everyone deserves access to high-quality education, regardless of their background. By offering scholarships for RGC Online, we aim to remove financial barriers to pupils from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. A significant number of places are fully funded, including support for hardware, to facilitate social mobility and open up a gateway to future success in the growing tech sector.

“These scholarships are part of our ongoing commitment to making our education accessible to all students. We want to give talent the opportunity to shine and learn from the best brains in technology.

“For students who enrol in RGC Online, we are offering the same high standard of education that you would expect from Robert Gordon’s College, a leading independent school. Parents will also receive regular updates, including teacher reports and parent evenings, so they are fully informed of their child’s progress throughout the course.

“RGC Online offers the highest standard of teaching excellence. Students will be enrolled in small classes to ensure a high degree of teacher support and will be provided comprehensive and engaging digital learning materials to support them throughout their course. For key assignment work, students will visit Robert Gordon’s College and benefit from the sector-leading tech resources that we have to offer.”




Robin Macpherson, Head of Robert Gordon's College

Students signed up to RGC Online study any of the Higher courses and can add any additional modules they would like to explore.

With live lessons taught twice weekly, these online classes provide students with regular one-to-one support and personalised feedback from their teachers. Live teaching is held on the same days each week and scheduled for early evenings to ensure it does not clash with students’ studies at their usual school.

The RGC Online student experience has been designed so students can interact with their teacher, just as they would in a classroom, and online resources are updated throughout the week, with students completing the work through Google Classroom.

Jess Power, Head of RGC Online, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming our first cohort of students studying Higher Applications of Mathematics alongside the current class of Higher Computing Science students as we continue to develop new SQA qualifications to meet the needs of 21st Century learners in Scotland.

“The RGC Online Diploma programme has been developed from our vast and experienced alumni who are supporting the College in adding new modules to this catalogue each year and through a number of strategic partners the college can provide student introductions to various tech industries looking for an enthusiastic talent pool to draw from.”


Jess Power, Head of RGC Online

RGC Online has been established in response to the Logan Review to assist young people across Scotland who don’t have access to study Higher Computing Science in their local school.

Commissioned by the Scottish Government, the review identified weaknesses in the tech ecosystem originating from a skills and talent shortage being stimulated in schools and universities.

A new strategic advisory board has been assembled with leading individuals in the tech sector, as well as from its own alumni network, to provide strategic direction on the needs of industry. With the mix of academic and industry expertise the board is providing an important role in establishing a pipeline to work in the tech sector, as well as mentoring and work experience opportunities.

Alan Duncan, Gartner Research and a member of the RGC Online Strategic Advisory Board, said: “The possibilities for young people to participate in the tech sector continue to grow apace.

"There is currently a major talent shortage – some would say a crisis - for people with science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths skills (STEAM), and the tech industries offer lots of opportunities for creative thinkers with interest and knowledge of humanities areas such as language, arts and social sciences. These skills are also sorely needed if the tech sector is going to be more human.

“RGC Online is providing new opportunities for students to learn subjects via the diploma modules that help them discover areas of personal potential that are not accessible through traditional local schooling. That’s an injection of innovation and new thinking that the education system in Scotland sorely needs.”



Robert Gordon's College


Alan’s view is echoed by Alistair Forbes, founding director and CEO of Scottish Tech Army – a not for profit company that is building a volunteer community that will work to help the third sector improve their understanding and use of technology.

He said: "The talent challenge for companies in the tech sector is well-known and there is a strong consensus that improving computer science education at school age is crucial. I believe that the approach that underpins RGC Online is a very innovative and exciting contribution to this.

“In addition to providing access to Higher Computing Science courses for pupils, regardless of their background, the addition of the Diploma modules offering more advanced topics such as AI and Quantum Computing will help to prepare students better for further learning and ultimately for exciting and rewarding careers in the tech sector."

Discover more about the online Higher courses and diploma modules at RGC Online at