The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Collaboration is key for Scotland's capital college

Working with partners to meet the needs of industry

Edinburgh College, one of the UK’s largest colleges, provides education and training to over 26,000 students across Scotland’s capital and beyond.

With a mixture of vocational, technical and professional courses on offer, the college is committed to supporting businesses and their people to grow and develop.

Earlier this year, the college published its first Skills Report, which conducted research into the future priorities and workforce needs of local businesses. Through its partnership working, it aims to play a significant role in impacting the future of the city and the country’s economy.

Being the regional college in one of the most thriving cities in the UK brings opportunities, which Edinburgh College is embracing. It recognises the importance of working with partners, not only to improve the opportunities for students but also to help businesses flourish and futureproof the skills of Scotland’s workforce.

Principal and Chief Executive Audrey Cumberford said: “The findings of our Skills Report tell us that many of the businesses we support recognise and experience similar challenges. Our partners are finding it harder to: recruit and attract talent; recruit people with skills not just for job roles of today but for the future and keep up with the upskilling and reskilling requirements of their current staff. We are committed to providing the workforce of the future and are increasingly working with industry partners to identify and address skills gaps.”

The College is currently working with partners as part of the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal. The region comprises six local authorities and has a population of approximately 1.4 million people. It contributes approximately £36 billion per year to the Scottish and UK economies.

Under the City Region Deal, the UK Government and Scottish Government are investing £300 million each into the region over the next 15 years and will work with universities and colleges, and the private and third sectors, on research, employability and skills, transport, culture and housing themes on projects amounting to £1.3bn of investment.

The College is just one of the partners aiming to make Edinburgh and South East Scotland even better places to live, work, visit and invest, through its involvement in the City Region Deal.

There is a forecasted gap of 3,000 job roles in the next seven years across the South East Scotland regional construction sector. The City Region Deal’s Housing, Construction and Infrastructure (HCI) Skills Gateway will work to develop new short courses and programmes to meet skills and jobs needs. The College is currently developing specific partnerships to raise awareness of construction trades and encourage young people into areas of specific skills shortages.

As well as the HCI project, Edinburgh College is involved in the Data Driven Innovation (DDI) project. In collaboration with West Lothian College, Borders College and Fife College, it is currently recruiting a curriculum portfolio manager to lead on the DDI project and a curriculum leader for Data Science whose role will be to enhance the Colleges’ curriculum innovation programme capability, lead on developing interdisciplinary programmes of work and develop staff CPD skills in Data Science.

The posts will play an integral role in discussions with the SQA on the development of an NPA in Data Science, with potential to provide the basis for a new Foundation Apprenticeship in Data Science, as well as new college-based HNC/D Data Science qualifications. An HND in Cyber Security is also being delivered for the first time this year.

Seven miles south of Edinburgh, as a Digital Centre of Excellence, Newbattle Community High School aims to lead the sector in the use of digital technologies to educate children and create innovative learner journeys, equipping students to thrive in the digital economy. The College delivers an expanding programme of Foundation Apprenticeships in IT and Software Development with Newbattle High School and other schools in the region.

The DDI project aims to transform Edinburgh into the data capital of Europe by training 100,000 people in data skills over the next decade. This aligns with the College’s ambition to tackle the digital skills gap, addressing gender inequality in the sector and giving those furthest from mainstream education an opportunity to gain skills at the core of many future jobs.

Vice Principal of Innovation, Planning and Performance and City Region Deal lead for the College, Jon Buglass said: “It is essential now more than ever that we are equipping people with the skills needed to thrive in ever-developing industries. “We are excited to be a part of these projects within the City Region Deal which will provide our students and communities with opportunities to gain knowledge and skills that will enable them to contribute to the growth and development of our region.

“The College will ensure we align our future curriculum development to the City Region Deal to support the ambition of accelerating growth, tackling inequality and deprivation, and building on the strengths of our region.”

Progress being made on College lecturer registration programme

Considerable progress is being made on the programme to register College lecturers with GTC Scotland, with two key sub-groups being set up to help develop pathways to registration for lecturers. Find out more at gtcs.org.uk