SERVICES and roles in Health, Social and Child Care are continuously changing.

Demand is growing on practitioners to deliver high quality safe care, to develop new skills and to keep up-to-date, including with evolving standards.

To help businesses and professionals of the Care Sector meet this demand, West College Scotland offers an extensive training programme dedicated to them.

Julie MacDonald, Head of Spateston Pre-Five Centre, has benefited from the Professional Development business courses delivered at West College Scotland.

Julie was a Nursery officer at Glenfield Pre-Five Centre when she decided to embark on the PDA Childhood Practice course back in 2005. Holding an HNC Child Care & Education and having a few years of professional practice, she felt she needed to get back to theory to make sure she was staying up-to-date with best practice.


She funded this through SAAS part time fee grant and some local authority/workforce development funding.

“The PDA Childhood Practice allowed me to expand my knowledge, to gain insight into the latest practices, and also to learn from sharing experience with other students in my class. This helped me improve my practice, boosted my level of confidence and my career.” Julie says.

After successful completion of the PDA Childhood Practice course, Julie progress onto a Senior Nursery officer position at Spateston Pre-Five Centre.

She developed her practice for a few years in this role and then felt it was time for her to move into a managerial role. In 2012, she embarked on the BA Childhood Practice course at West College Scotland in collaboration with University of the West of Scotland to gain the required knowledge and qualification.

Julie explains: “After my very positive experience in achieving the PDA, enrolling for the BA Childhood Practice was a logical next step for me. I knew it would require strict time management, as it was the case when I followed the two-year PDA course.

“When you have a full-time job and two small children, you can imagine it’s quite hard to fit in high level studies in your schedule – but if you’re committed and well organised, it’s absolutely doable. The BA lasts for three years but it is astonishing how time flies when you are learning interesting things and growing your skills.”

“There’s a good balance of theory and practical knowledge in the PDA and BA Childhood Practice, which makes the courses very interesting. For example, we undertake research projects which give us the opportunity to directly integrate the theory into our practice.”

Julie is now Head of Centre at Spateston Pre-Five Centre and her professional development journey inspired her team. Today, the Centre counts seven out of 12 staff members holding a PDA Childhood Practice. All of them followed the course at West College Scotland.

“It’s great having staff with higher qualifications. They have more confidence in their practice and take the lead more easily on tasks. For the parents, it also makes a difference as it gives them the assurance we have the knowledge and skills to support their child in the best way possible.”

“I would highly recommend taking these courses to all Child Care practitioners – the value they bring is immense and there is funding support available.” concludes Julie. In fact, the PDA and BA Childhood Practice courses are both eligible for Individual Learning Accounts (ILA) funding and for some individuals SAAS part time fee grant.

The PDA and BA Childhood Practice are only two of the numerous courses included in West College Scotland’s complete business training programme in Health, Social and Child Care.

With courses certified at SCQF Level 4 up to level 9, lasting from a half-day to four years, (delivery modes vary according to course) West College Scotland offers training programmes suited to each organisation and individual’s specific needs.

To learn more, visit or contact West College Scotland’s Business & Enterprise Team on 0141 581 2121 or at