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WEST College Scotland has scooped four coveted awards at the College Development Network (CDN) Annual Awards ceremony, held in Glasgow last week.

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Taking Highly Commended for Employer Engagement; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion; and the Changing Colleges Awards; as well as seeing West College Scotland student Kimberley Hamilton winning the Student Contribution Award. 

Kimberley is an adult returner to education and a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) ambassador for West College Scotland, who has just graduated from the College with a HND in Biomedical Science. The judges felt Kimberley was full of energy and passion, a woman who actively encourages and helps younger females in a male-dominated subject area; addressing gender balance issues, a key area for Government and the College.

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It has been a successful few months for Kimberley, who is now studying for a BSc in Biochemistry & Microbiology at Strathclyde University. Kim’s talents were also recognised at this year’s West College Scotland Graduation Ceremonies, where she was prize winner for her HND course, and awarded the College prize for ‘Student of the Year’.

Speaking at her Graduation Kim said: “At first I was shocked; it was very humbling. Even to be nominated was really kind. The lecturers go above and beyond for you at West College Scotland, and you just don’t get that anywhere else. They’ve been an inspiration to me.”

You can read more about Kim’s journey on our website at /student-stories/case-studies/kims-story

For the Employer Engagement Award, the judges were impressed by the college’s Retail Academy initiative. Working in partnership with intu Braehead, the Retail Academy has been designed as a strategy for implementation of Developing the Young Workforce. Judges felt this was an excellent example of working in partnership with employers, creating a pathway for students based on need, with an impressive 86% success rate into employment. 

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West College Scotland Business & Enterprise team with their award for 'Employer Engagement'

The project that caught the judges’ attention for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award was the West Employability Hub, ‘You Only Have to Knock Once’. The Hub created an innovative aligned service model, which facilitated improved access to jobs and contributed to the enhancement of skills and educational achievement.

When it came to the Changing Colleges Award, which recognises leadership and innovation in the development of regional colleges, the judges were impressed with West College Scotland’s use of regionalisation as an opportunity to improve learning and teaching in science. Judges saw good evidence of a strong science culture alighted to the current STEM agenda for the benefit of the students, associated schools and employers.  

Each year the CDN Annual Awards celebrate the outstanding projects and initiatives taking place in colleges the length and breadth of Scotland.

Around 200 guests from the college sector, industry and Scotland’s key educational agencies gathered to recognise the talent, skills and achievements of colleges, their staff and learners.

This year the awards featured eight categories, reflecting key priorities in the college sector.

Joe Wilson, CEO, CDN, said: “Congratulations to West College Scotland on a great achievement. All our winners have much to be proud of and they demonstrate the diverse talent and achievements that are taking place every day in colleges across Scotland.”

Aileen McKechnie, Director, Advanced Learning and Science, Scottish Government, said: “I am delighted to take part in events like this, which showcase and celebrate the enormous success of the talented staff and students here tonight. And it is absolutely right that we acknowledge and celebrate your successes. Congratulations to all of tonight’s winners.”