College welcomes minister for special visit

Dumfries and Galloway College (DGC) was delighted to welcome Graeme Dey MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Veterans, to its Crichton campus in Dumfries today (Tuesday, Aug 8).

Principal and CEO Joanna Campbell greeted Mr Dey and local MSPs Emma Harper and Finlay Carson at the college’s Henry Duncan Building and introduced them to Douglas Dickson, Depute Principal, before the group began a tour of the campus.

After visiting the Digital Hub, the guests moved on to the Student Services Hub, where they learned about the Student Association’s award-winning ‘Here For You’ initiative to help tackle student poverty.

The Student Association won the Campaigns Award 2023 at the National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland Awards. ‘Here For You’ took top prize as judges hailed the project for ‘supporting students through the cost-of-living crisis’.

‘Here For You’ is one of the College’s values and was used for the project to remind students that as a college and student body they are there to listen, care for and respect them and that there is always support available at college. The project took on several key activities — including a student food bank, self-service facilities on offer at lunchtime, Christmas Gift Appeal and the ‘Here For You’ partnership event — which continues to impact on students in future years.

Next on the agenda was a visit to the Green Energy Hub to hear about the college’s ‘Leading the way – Net Zero initiative’ from Billy Currie, Director of Estates & Sustainability at DGC.

The Net Zero agenda is one of the key priorities as Dumfries and Galloway College challenges the climate emergency through the Green Skills Academy and adapting their facilities to use renewable energy with their Green Energy Hub and continue right across college.

Mr Dey then had the opportunity to learn in detail about the college’s regional skills planning and, in particular, two pathfinder projects: West of Scotland Pathways and South of Scotland Digital Skills Hub, one of seven pilot projects running throughout Scotland.

The Minister heard from staff and university colleagues involved in the West of Scotland Pathways project, where the college has partnered with University of West of Scotland to launch two brand new degree pathways in Computing and Business.

Students can now start their journey with the college from S5 and move right up to degree level, all whilst studying in the same building at its Dumfries campus.

The designated pathway courses give students the experience and skills to move seamlessly through to a degree with UWS in either Computing Science (BSc Hons) or Business Studies (BA Hons).

These new pathways are also perfect for anyone who has previously studied up to HND level or who has significant experience in their chosen field and would like to continue their studies to degree level whilst studying locally in Dumfries.

Minister for Higher Education and Further Education Graeme Dey said: “Dumfries and Galloway College’s campus is full of innovation and inspiration.

“It was a pleasure to see it first-hand and to meet with the management and staff who are all striving for success with their forward-thinking approach to regional skills planning, tackling the climate emergency, and supporting students throughout their learner journey.

“I look forward to keeping in touch with the campus and to working with Dumfries and Galloway College in the future.”

Principal Joanna Campbell said: “We were thrilled to welcome the Minister to our Dumfries campus and hoped he thoroughly enjoyed his morning with staff and students.

“Our college is proud of the relationships that we have with stakeholders in government, business, the third sector, and our local community, and this visit was another example of the work the college is doing to support regional skills planning and economic growth.”

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