Colleges at the heart of Scotland’s communities

First published on September 2017 in the Ayrshire College Blog One of our vice principals was invited to speak to the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on College and Universities earlier this year about how colleges engage with local communities. The Convener of the Group, Liz Smith MSP, said that the role of colleges and universities in theContinue reading “Colleges at the heart of Scotland’s communities”

Data changes everything!

First published in March 2017 on Ayrshire College Blog On Tuesday 21 March, 150 people from the private, public and education sectors took part in our Ayrshire Bytes: Data Changes Everything conference at our Kilmarnock Campus. Vice Principal Jackie Galbraith explains why we applied to be part of DataFest17. We were very proud to haveContinue reading “Data changes everything!”

ADAmant that we will attract more women into STEM!

First published in October 2016 on Ayrshire College Blog Vice principal Jackie Galbraith shares her thoughts on the importance of recognising and celebrating women in STEM in the past, present and future. It’s Ada Lovelace Day 2016, and Ayrshire College is ADAmant that we will attract more girls and women into science, engineering, technology and mathsContinue reading “ADAmant that we will attract more women into STEM!”

Who can be an engineer? This Ayrshire Girl Can!

First published in March 2016 on Ayrshire College Blog For International Women’s Day, vice principal Jackie Galbraith talks about the efforts being made by Ayrshire College and the Ayrshire College Student Association to tackle gender imbalance in areas like engineering. One hundred years ago this month, during the First World War, Glasgow munitions worker Jeannie RileyContinue reading “Who can be an engineer? This Ayrshire Girl Can!”

Tackling gender imbalance in colleges and universities – whose job is it anyway?

Published in June 2016 on the Ayrshire College Blog The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) held a workshop on 31 May 2016 to share the findings of research carried out by the Higher Education Academy which mapped the approaches being used to address gender imbalance in Scotland’s colleges and universities, to assess what approaches work best andContinue reading “Tackling gender imbalance in colleges and universities – whose job is it anyway?”

Destination College – first choice for many, second chance for some, but not second best!

Yesterday (27 February), the Scottish Government published the latest destinations of school leavers in Scotland. Today, journalists, politicians and others are trying to make sense of these figures – and, in some cases, not doing a very good job! A BBC article reported that the “figures showed that the percentage signing up for university lastContinue reading “Destination College – first choice for many, second chance for some, but not second best!”


In March 2018, the Scottish Government published an evidence report ‘Learner Journey: Analysis of Scottish education and training provision for 15 to 24 year olds‘ . The report is based largely on published data up to and including 2015-16 (my previous article Destination College – first choice for many, second chance for some, but not second best!’ analysedContinue reading “COLLEGES – TOP CHOICE FOR SCHOOL LEAVERS!”


Some in the education system say that a problem in attracting young people onto college courses – full time or delivered as part of the senior phase at school – is that most parents see university as the top destination to aspire to. I don’t buy this. First, more school leavers move onto college eachContinue reading “IS MY ASPIRATION BETTER THAN YOUR ASPIRATION?”


Communities at the heart of everything we do I’ve been passionate about the value of vocational education for over three decades – as a student, in industry, as a lecturer, as a senior manager in national educational organisations, and as a policy adviser in government. In 2013, I had the opportunity to fulfil this passionContinue reading “COLLEGES AT THE HEART OF SCOTLAND’S COMMUNITIES”

No Wrong Path!

My early career choices  My first career was in computing but I never planned to work in technology. At school, I had a wide range of interests and achieved highers in Maths, Chemistry, English, German, Geography, History and Modern Studies. While I went through phases of liking particular subjects, my favourite subject throughout secondary school wasContinue reading “No Wrong Path!”

IT Now? Feels pretty much like IT past!

Taking advantage of a quiet Sunday morning, I settled down to read the latest edition of IT Now, the magazine for British Computer Society (BCS) members, to catch up on what’s going on in the digital world.  As I read through the articles, something didn’t quite compute. I didn’t put my finger on it until aroundContinue reading “IT Now? Feels pretty much like IT past!”

When the numbers don’t add up …

On the news recently, I heard that Italian coastguard was trying to find and save 1,000 migrants in difficulty on the Mediterranean Sea (over 2,000 were subsequently rescued). In the same week, 300 migrants travelling in dinghies died when they ran into stormy weather after leaving Libya. According to the UNHCR, over 3,500 people diedContinue reading “When the numbers don’t add up …”

Recent publications reinforce the importance of work experience for school, college and university students

One of the consequences of the economic recession of the late 2000’s, which resulted in large rises in youth unemployment across the world, was a renewed focus on how well education systems were preparing young people for work. An important aspect of this was on how schools, colleges and universities could work better with employers,Continue reading “Recent publications reinforce the importance of work experience for school, college and university students”

STEM doesn’t need a ‘girly’ image to attract females but its image does need to change

Every October, individuals, groups and organisations across the world celebrate women in science, technology and engineering by remembering Ada Lovelace, who is acknowledged as a pioneer of computer programming. As well as reminding or introducing us to women in history and the present who have or are making major contributions to science, technology, engineering andContinue reading “STEM doesn’t need a ‘girly’ image to attract females but its image does need to change”

Apprenticeships – Vital for Scotland’s Future

On 31 March Ayrshire College Principal, Heather Dunk spoke at the national summit of the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce (aka the Wood Commission). She described how the College is bringing employers and education together to make sure that the skills young people leave college with are those that industry needs. Not surprisingly, apprenticeshipsContinue reading “Apprenticeships – Vital for Scotland’s Future”

International Girls in ICT Day 2014

To attract more women into science, technology and engineering (and keep them there) we all need to wise up! International Girls in ICT Day takes place on the fourth Thursday in April every year and this year’s was on 24 April. Lots of activity takes place across the world in the days and weeks aroundContinue reading “International Girls in ICT Day 2014”