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West College Scotland (WCS) won two awards and received three Highly Commended, and one Commended commendations at last night’s (Thursday 11th December) annual CDN College Awards held at the Glasgow Radisson Blu hotel.

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The CDN awards, organised by the College Development Network, recognise the talent, skills and achievements of Scottish colleges, their staff and learners.

West College Scotland had been shortlisted with nominations in five of the 12 categories including Colleague of the Year, Learning and Teaching Colleague of the Year, College Community Learning Award, Marketing and Communications Award and the Health and Wellbeing Award.

The first success of the evening for the College was Joe Rafferty, Head of Organisational Development and Human Resources, who was runner-up in the Colleague of the Year category. His work and leadership at the heart of the college’s Covid-19 response received a Highly Commended Award.

The College’s Communications team also received a Highly Commended award in the Marketing and Communications category for their role in promoting West College Scotland as a safe and supportive place to study and work during the global pandemic.

Isobel Donald, a Makeup Artistry Lecturer, was also recognised with a Highly Commended in the Learning and Teaching Colleague of the Year category for her inspirational work in taking an innovative approach to teaching. This included using her links across the Scottish film and television industry to create work experience opportunities for her students when other traditional options had been closed off due to covid restrictions.

A Commended award for West College Scotland came in the Health and Wellbeing Award category. It recognised the College’s strategic approach to ensuring staff and students were emotionally and physically empowered to deal with both the professional and personal challenges to overall health and wellbeing presented by the pandemic.

West College Scotland took top place in the new College Community Learning Award, which recognises innovative and outstanding work by colleges and their partners in the delivery of community-based learning opportunities. The College’s collaboration with West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) – Working 4U – facilitates adults’ participation in the first steps of learning and provides them with guidance, support and clear pathways of progression to positive outcomes.

The College’s Community Learning Partnership with WDC also won the prestigious Judge’s Award which recognised the very best overall submission at the CDN College Awards. The judges praised the College’s accessible, flexible and engaging approach to delivering learning to adults who otherwise would not be able to access education. Many of the hundreds of learners reached already have multiple barriers in addition to those posed by the pandemic but 70% managed complete their courses in subjects including Early Education and Childcare, Care, IT, Painting and Decorating, Psychology and even Criminology.

The tally of wins and commendations meant that West College Scotland was the most successful college on the night. Liz Connolly, Principal and Chief Executive of West College Scotland said:

“These awards recognise the vital role our College plays in the success of our communities and in creating enriched futures for people. They also recognise the passion and dedication of our incredible colleagues in working to deliver positive outcomes for all who choose to learn, collaborate and work with us. To win the Judge’s Award for the best overall submission is a humbling but fantastic recognition of our innovative approach to delivering accessible learning. We would also like to congratulate all of our amazing college sector friends. It has been fantastic to hear the inspirational stories and initiatives being delivered by so many passionate people.”