COVID-19 Mask

A collaboration between colleges in east central Scotland has published their proposals on how best to deliver skills and opportunities in Scotland to support the economic recovery.

The East Central Scotland Colleges Collaboration, consisting of Edinburgh College (@EdinCollege_Int), Fife College (@fifecollege), Forth Valley College (@FVCollege) and West Lothian College (@WestLoCollege), worked to produce a comprehensive skills programme designed to help meet the future needs of the Scottish economy.

Titled the ‘Our Futures Programme’, their report recommends eight distinct reskilling and upskilling products that could provide much needed support to individuals and employers who are set to be hit by the economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

They include suggestions such as the creation of Skills Boost Academies in key areas such as digital and industry, and the development of Accelerator Programmes, which would see colleges across Scotland able to introduce accelerated versions of existing qualifications that are already on offer, such as engineering, computing and care. These innovative programmes will place the College sector at the forefront of the country’s agenda for economic recovery.

The other educational products that are recommended in the report include:

  • Kick Start+
  • Pre Apprentice Pathways
  • Short Accredited Programmes
  • Cooperative Apprenticeships
  • Adopt an Intern+ (AAI EmployAbility) 
  • Winter Leaver Guarantee

Each skills product was developed by the four colleges alongside Skills Development Scotland (SDS) having analysed labour market information, unemployment rates, levels of furlough, growth sectors and the local knowledge each of the colleges have of their region.

It comes after the Scottish Government formally launched the Young Person's Guarantee last week, which is designed to help those whose job prospects are set to be hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Each of the proposals closely align with the skills-related commitments set out in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government and target areas that are seen as an economic priority for Scotland.

hugh fife coll 100Speaking after the announcement, Principal of Fife College Dr Hugh Hall said:

"Colleges across Scotland know that we have a vital role to play in helping individuals and businesses deal with the economic impact caused by the Coronavirus.

"That's why our four colleges came together in this collaboration - to help develop a strategy for how we can best help deliver the fast-track and relevant training we need in Scotland over the short to medium term.

“Each of the recommendations in the report have been formulated after thorough analysis of the jobs market, and could make a huge difference to those looking to upskill and reskill, and to the businesses who will be looking for skilled workers in the coming months.

"The Young Person's Guarantee launched by the Scottish Government last week is an important step towards helping deal with unemployment, and colleges have a huge part to play in that. We have the potential to do more, and we're looking forward to continuing our work with the Scottish Government to help develop and implement these ideas."

Dr Ken Thomson OBE100Dr Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College, said:

“I am very excited about Forth Valley College’s involvement in the East Central Scotland College Collaboration initiative. By working together, we can have a really positive impact on the people who are, or who will be, affected most by the pandemic lockdown and the inevitable economic downturn that is starting to hit us.

“As a college, we have always been at the forefront of innovative programmes which meet the needs of both individuals and local and national skills agendas.

“Now, this new collaboration will enable all four colleges involved to tap into each other’s expertise to provide the very best courses, professional training, upskilling, reskilling and opportunities.

"This is a chance to make learning work for the people of the Central Belt and the East of Scotland and help the country on the road to economic, educational and social recovery.”

Jackie Galbraith100Speaking after the announcement, Principal of West Lothian College Jackie Galbraith said:

"Colleges are playing a vital role right now to help people and businesses deal with the economic crisis caused by the Coronavirus. At a local level, West Lothian College is working hand in hand with the council and other partners to support economic recovery and to strengthen our communities.

“With unemployment rising, our four colleges have created a comprehensive programme to develop the skills people need to succeed in the jobs market now and in the future. This collaborative effort will add real value to what is coming out of our respective local partnerships.

"The Young Person's Guarantee is a major step towards avoiding high levels of youth unemployment, and this exciting partnership of the four colleges in East Central Scotland will play a pivotal role in making the guarantee a reality for thousands of young people.”

Audrey Cumberford100Edinburgh College Principal Audrey Cumberford FRSE MBE said:

“We know that coronavirus is having a significant impact on people’s livelihoods and businesses across the world in a way that we couldn’t have fully anticipated at the start of the year.

“The impact of the virus is unprecedented, and across Scotland the number of unemployed people is expected to rise due to the economic impact we are already experiencing - which is set to continue as we navigate our way through these uncertain times.

“Together, with the other three colleges, Edinburgh College is committed and determined to delivering a range of support and opportunities for people of all ages across our region to retrain and upskill – focusing on meeting the skills needs of businesses and industries that have been hardest hit by the virus.

“By working together, and in collaboration with government and industry partners, we believe the products set out in the ‘Our Futures Programme’ will make an important contribution to enabling people and businesses across East Central Scotland to thrive.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

AELP Webinar Team added a new event 7 hours

Recognising and supporting learners who are at risk of, or...

Overview This webinar is intended to explain the nature of harm and abuse caused to learners who may be at risk of, or have experienced sexual...

  • Wednesday, 06 October 2021 10:00 AM
  • Online

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page