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”

How I got into tech

My life before computers I never planned to have a career 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 was English. A career inContinue reading “How I got into tech”

Investing in our people

On 30 May 2019, West Lothian College moved beyond its existing Investors in People Bronze status to achieve Silver accreditation.  West Lothian College first achieved Investors in People recognition in 2010 and achieved Bronze status under the previous 5th Generation Framework in 2016. We use the Investors in People framework to review and improve our people managementContinue reading “Investing in our people”

Graduation – a new dawn, a new day, a new life

I started as principal of West Lothian College in August this year.  On Saturday 27 October, I was very privileged and and felt very proud to join 230 graduating students and nearly 700 of their guests celebrate their success at our Graduation Ceremony. Graduation is one of the most special days in the college year.Continue reading “Graduation – a new dawn, a new day, a new life”

Shortening (and Expanding) the Learner Journey

This is the tenth year of West Lothian College’s partnership with Napier University, where we deliver year 3 of the BA Business Management degree at the college, and our students progress to fourth year honours or masters at university. Over 300 of our students have now studied this degree at college. After graduating with a first class honours degreeContinue reading “Shortening (and Expanding) the Learner Journey”

GE are family!

The Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills visited Ayrshire College in July to launch year two of the Flexible Workforce Development Fund. Some of the employers who are taking advantage of the FWDF through the college to develop their workforce came along to share their experiences with the minister. One of these companies is Prestwick-based GEContinue reading “GE are family!”

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”

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”