Clearing Day at City of Glasgow College is the perfect opportunity to map out a career plan

IT’S that time of year when students await and receive important results which will decide their future learning or career route. Many are still puzzling over what to do next. League tables are a good guide, however when it comes to considering a career in STEM, students often rate the experience of a particular course over whether it is offered at a university or a college.

City of Glasgow College students are certainly happy with their courses and the quality of teaching on offer, with more than 90% saying they are satisfied. 

And a high proportion of them go on to employment or further study after graduating, thanks to the links the college has with some 1500 industry partnerships. In the maritime campus alone, the college works with the world’s top 10 shipping companies. 

Gillian Plunket, student experience director at City of Glasgow College, says that students still have time to make that all-important decision. 
She explained: “There are so many things for students to consider at this time of year but ultimately if a student likes the look of somewhere and the course sounds appealing, I would urge them to go and visit to make sure they feel at home there. 

“We also advise students who have a disability or special education need to discuss it with us directly. It’s worth having a conversation as early as possible about health issues or mitigating circumstances so we can help plan a path. Our Clearing Day is a great way of finding out late availability in courses and a chance to talk to lecturers and support staff about how to access services both financial and counselling. 

“After all, students are most successful in a place where they are happy so our aim is to provide that environment from day one.” 
Student Darren O’Donnell, 21,  from Possilpark saw his hard work and determination rewarded this year when he picked up the Overall Apprentice of the Year prize at City of Glasgow College’s recent summer graduation celebrations. 

The SVQ Floorcovering Occupations graduate who is profoundly deaf, said that may not have happened without the individual support and encouragement he received during his time at college and given the chance, he would do it all again. 

Darren said: “Lecturers and staff really helped me by providing a sign language interpreter, a scribe, and a one-to-one tutor. 

“They took the time to ensure that they made eye contact with me and gave me extra support both in the classroom setting and in the workrooms. 

“It really put me at ease and I would highly recommend studying at college to any future students, particularly those who might need a bit of extra support.”

City of Glasgow College is also currently number one in WorldSkills UK, due to the focus it places on pushing individual talent and ability.  It means students are encouraged to enter competitions which in turn enable them to stand out in the extremely competitive job market after they leave. 

And unlike universities currently under pressure to relax access requirements, the College already welcomes a diverse student cohort which includes 150 different nationalities. 

Across full-time further education, full-time higher education, and part-time further and higher education, there is a clear upward trend in student performance since the college’s merger in 2010; all the more remarkable given that around three out of five of the college’s students are from the most deprived areas in Scotland

City of Glasgow College Clearing and Information Day is on Thursday 8 August from 10am until 4pm when students can get advice and guidance and register for a course on the spot. Further information on available courses is also online from then and can be found at


Byron charted a course towards true excellence

This 50th anniversary year of City of Glasgow College  teaching maritime skills on the banks of the River Clyde, two new ‘Maritime 50’ awards were created to recognise the excellence and achievement of students graduating from the Faculty of Nautical & STEM.

One of the recipients was 29-year-old HND student Byron O’Hanlon, from Ayr, who was nominated for the award by staff and lecturers for his dedication and focus. 


SPECIAL AWARD: Student Byron O’Hanlon with Principal Paul Little.

Byron now plans to develop his Merchant Navy career with BP, who sponsored his studies. 

He was delighted to receive the award at the ceremony, saying: “I really wish I’d known the options that are available after school. That not wanting to go to university didn’t make me less intelligent. 

“Despite not looking to do a degree, I’m still in a better position than a lot of my peers who did go on to do that and I have a career plan that I really want to follow.

“I even won a special award at graduation which I didn’t expect but it really highlighted to me how much students are cared for at college. 

“My lecturers and staff were really supportive, warm and open. 

“I would recommend highly that anyone aiming for a career in the maritime sector consider enrolling here.”

Since the opening of its legacy Glasgow College of Nautical Studies in 1969, Scotland’s premier flagship college has been delivering world-class nautical and maritime training on the scenic banks of the River Clyde. 


Navy beckons for Colin

COLIN Campbell, 24, from Springburn, is the second recipient of the prestigious ‘Maritime 50’ award, which was given to him for displaying enthusiasm, diligence and a positive attitude this year. 

Colin was disappointed by his grades in high school but his ambition to pursue a career at sea led him to the Riverside campus. 


ENTHUSIASM AND DILIGENCE: Colin Campbell didn’t let his ‘disappointing’ school grades hold back his ambitions.

He said: “My journey to where I am now has been a real challenge but, with the help and support I’ve received at college, I’m very happy and planning a future in the maritime industry. I would advise anyone unsure of what course to do and trying to decide on further education options to also look at what a particular college does to support students. Namely, what services there are, and what the student union or student association is like. Basically the things going on outside the classroom while you’re doing your course. It’s that stuff which will keep you going when you’re struggling a bit.”

The HND Marine Engineering graduate now plans to become an Officer of the Watch in the Merchant Navy working with Northern Marine – the shipping company who sponsored his time at college.


Aimee makes a splash in Marine Management

AIMEE MacLeod, who is 21 and from Lewis, recently graduated with an SPD in Marine Management, and said she had absolutely no qualms about going to college after her friends had recommended it to her. 


EMPOWERING: Aimee MacLeod excelled in a male-dominated course.


She said:“College was certainly the right choice for me and I don’t think anyone should feel obliged to go the traditional route. 

“You don’t have to go to university, and just because you’re female, it shouldn’t stop you applying for more traditionally male-dominated courses. 

“My advice is talk to current students to get a feel for the course and institution. 

“Visit and go along to open days or Clearing if you can, as it’s the best way to get all your questions answered in one go and to see for yourself where you will be spending your study time.

“It was important for me to have a job available at the end of my course so I spent a bit of time looking at courses where there was a real demand for more people. 

“I was supported throughout my course and being only one of three girls in my course was actually much more empowering than I ever would have thought it would be.

“I’ve made some great friends along the way and I now have a job lined up so it’s been a great choice for me.”