MESSAGE TO THE CLASS OF 2021 – Use your education to change your world

Congratulations on achieving your qualification! I am so very proud of you and know that your success will inspire others. To the children watching the ceremony – be inspired by your mum, dad, sister, brother, cousin or other relative you are supporting. There is a reason they are wearing capes today – they are allContinue reading “MESSAGE TO THE CLASS OF 2021 – Use your education to change your world”

Thirty years on, and the gender gap in computing is as wide as it ever was!

It’s the second Tuesday in October which means it’s Ada Lovelace Day! Ada Lovelace, born over two centuries ago, wrote the first ever computer programme — 100 years before computers were even invented! I graduated with a computing degree thirty years ago. Three decades on — in a world exponentially more dependent on tech than whenContinue reading “Thirty years on, and the gender gap in computing is as wide as it ever was!”

Making Cyber Security Accessible to Everyone

Ada Lovelace Day celebrates women in computing and I want to highlight someone who is helping to make cyber security qualifications and careers available to a wide range of people. West Lothian College computing lecturer Christine Eckford has been shortlisted for the Cyber Educator Award at the forthcoming Scottish Cyber Awards. The Scottish Cyber AwardsContinue reading “Making Cyber Security Accessible to Everyone”

Outdoor wellbeing space created BY students FOR students

Students at West Lothian College have created an outdoor wellbeing space on the campus by repurposing a former smoking area. The college went smoke and vape free last summer, leaving a number of shelters out of use and in danger of becoming an eyesore. Health and social care students needed to complete an enterprise unitContinue reading “Outdoor wellbeing space created BY students FOR students”

Life-changing and life-saving — a whole college approach to student wellbeing

Long before the pandemic, increasing numbers of college students were experiencing poor mental health. This increased due to the disruption to learning, forced social isolation, financial problems and uncertainty caused by Covid19. Additional funding from the Scottish Funding Council is welcome and has helped colleges support student wellbeing. With this, we’ve given greater financial supportContinue reading “Life-changing and life-saving — a whole college approach to student wellbeing”

Building futures at West Lothian College

West Lothian College is investing £500,000 to expand its engineering and construction workshops to meet industry and student demand. The new workshop area will double the space on the campus to deliver the practical aspects of engineering and construction courses. The expansion project and the new equipment that will be installed will allow the collegeContinue reading “Building futures at West Lothian College”

West Lothian College — Our Vision, Goals, Values and Behaviours

Our vision – our WHY – is of a highly skilled, enterprising and resilient workforce. We have a vision of a highly skilled workforce because employment forecasts for West Lothian tell us that there is a greater demand for higher level skills than exists in the working age population. To have a highly skilled workforceContinue reading “West Lothian College — Our Vision, Goals, Values and Behaviours”

How West Lothian College is Supporting the Young Person’s Guarantee

In August 2020, the Scottish Government announced a Young Person’s Guarantee to support young people affected by the economic impact of Covid19. Over the next two years, the guarantee aims to give all young people the chance to succeed through a job, apprenticeship, education, training or volunteering. In February 2021, the Scottish Funding Council announced that colleges wereContinue reading “How West Lothian College is Supporting the Young Person’s Guarantee”

A pedagogy-first approach to digital learning

Lockdown catapulted most colleges from exclusively face-to-face teaching to delivering all courses online. No blend, just full-strength online delivery! Lecturers, work-based assessors and trainers at West Lothian College threw themselves into remote delivery and worked hard to help students complete their qualifications online. In a matter of days lecturers moved all learning resources onto MoodleContinue reading “A pedagogy-first approach to digital learning”

West Lothian College students graduate at home

The main event at West Lothian College in the last week of October 2020 was our Graduate at Home ceremony and, as principal of the college, I was delighted to take part. It was more important than ever to celebrate this year’s graduates. They are the generation of students that kept going through a worldwideContinue reading “West Lothian College students graduate at home”

Colleges will help make the Young Person’s Guarantee a reality

Mass youth unemployment has featured large in my personal and professional life. As a teenager, I was one of over a million unemployed young people in the 1980s. As a civil servant, I advised government ministers and worked with partners to design initiatives to tackle youth unemployment from 2008 to 2013. As the principal ofContinue reading “Colleges will help make the Young Person’s Guarantee a reality”

West Lothian College students shine

At this year’s virtual graduation ceremony Fiona Hyslop MSP announced the winners of the West Lothian College Student of the Year awards. These awards recognise students who, on top of their academic achievement, stood out through their commitment to the college, supporting others, or achieving additional skills from work experience or volunteering. There were six awards presentedContinue reading “West Lothian College students shine”


Over 500 students graduated from West Lothian College this year. Hundreds of new graduates with the skills, qualifications and knowledge that will make a difference to people’s lives, to communities, and to the economy at a local, regional and national level. Here’s my Principal’s message to our Class of 2020. Graduation is special, although itContinue reading “MESSAGE TO THE CLASS OF 2020”

West Lothian College Ambassador Award presented to John McGee

The West Lothian College Ambassador Award recognises a person who has made a huge difference to our college over the year. This award essentially gives that person lifetime freedom of the college. This year, I was delighted to announce that the recipient of the West Lothian College Ambassador Award is John McGee. About a year intoContinue reading “West Lothian College Ambassador Award presented to John McGee”

ADAmant that we will debug the gender gap in tech!

Ada Lovelace Day 2020 took place on 13 October and Scottish colleges like West Lothian College are ADAmant that we will attract more girls and women into science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM). The following post is an extended version of one published by TES on Ada Lovelace Day this year. Colleges across Scotland work withContinue reading “ADAmant that we will debug the gender gap in tech!”

Your Voice, Only Louder!

On 16 June 2020 West Lothian College’s Board of Governors said farewell to our Student President and Vice President, Michelle Low and Gemma Reynolds, who had just completed a two-term period of office. Board members thanked Michelle and Gemma for their contribution to improving the quality of our students’ learning experience, for the support theyContinue reading “Your Voice, Only Louder!”

Growing and Diversifying the Early Years and Childcare Workforce

In the week before the country closed down due to the coronavirus, I spoke at a Scotland Policy Conferences Keynote Seminar on 12 March on Growing and Diversifying the Early Years and Childcare Workforce. The aim of the event was to discuss how to achieve the Scottish Government’s planned expansion of funded hours in childcareContinue reading “Growing and Diversifying the Early Years and Childcare Workforce”


Graduation is a special day and I was very privileged to be part of West Lothian College’s 2019 celebrations on Saturday 26 October. Sharing the success of our graduates rounded off a great year for the college. In 2018-19, we had the highest ever number of students and the best student results in over tenContinue reading “MESSAGE TO THE CLASS OF 2019”

West Lothian College — a year in numbers

At this point in the college year, our priority is ensuring our students are settling well into their new courses. If you follow us on Twitter (@westlocoll) you will see many examples of how we’re achieving that. We also reflect on the year that has just finished to understand how we can continue to improveContinue reading “West Lothian College — a year in numbers”