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West College Scotland is delighted to receive additional funding from The Connecting Scotland initiative to support some of our most vulnerable students to work and learn online. The initiative aims to help 60,000 digitally excluded households online by the end of 2022.

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Throughout the coronavirus crisis, the internet is keeping us connected to friends and family and enabling us to learn and work from home. However, some people can’t access these benefits because they don’t have the confidence, kit and connectivity at home.

The successful application will result in the College being in receipt of 90 kits, in which students will receive a chrome book, 24 months of internet with a MiFi device.  The main emphasis of the award is to reduce the digital divide and support students to continue to engage in further education and the kits will go specifically towards helping students from low income households, digitally excluded families and young care leavers.

The pandemic has led to increased financial instability for many already on lower incomes thus the cost to learn can be prohibitive leading to disproportionate learning loss. Our ESOL students fall into 3 categories: new migrants, asylum seekers and refugees and face additional barriers as they try to establish a new life in a new country.

Many ESOL students attending classes in the College are at the early stages in their learning journey, taking a huge step forward to gain qualifications that will ultimately lead to employment. Many of our Learners are on low incomes or benefits and cannot afford the cost of IT resources required for their learning. Many also lack confidence in the use of IT with no experience of this and many also have no internet connection in their home.

By providing greater digital connectivity, WCS aim to support the New Scots Refugee Integration strategy 2018-2022 which sets out a vision for a welcoming Scotland where refugees and asylum seekers can rebuild their lives from the day they arrive. We also support Scotland’s ESOL Strategy to provide high quality English language provision to enable participation and integration in Scottish life through work, study, family and local community. WCS are delighted to be working with Connecting Scotland to provide our students with the devices and connectivity they require to undertake their next steps in gaining qualifications and future employment opportunities.

In the most recent 3rd phase of funding, West College Scotland were again successful in securing over £97,000 worth of funding to support the provision of devices and MiFi connectivity to ESOL, Hospitality and Business students across our 3 campuses. 

“We’re delighted to have been successful in this third round of Connecting Scotland bids. This funding and digital investment is critical in bridging the digital poverty divide across the regions we serve; some of which are the most deprived areas in Scotland. Equipping our students with Chromebooks and Mifis will help enable them to engage with their studies and goes a long way to ensuring that no one is left behind.” 

Assistant Principal: Creativity and Skills, Angela Pignatelli