‘A Fresh Start’ – Shaping the Student Experience
With the new academic session just around the corner, the Student President at Dundee and Angus College is reassuring applicants of a first-class student experience this year.
With applications reaching their annual peak, Amy Monks, Student President along with the Students’ Association team, is working with students, past and present, to ensure the new cohort gain the most from college life, from enrolling at college through to their graduation.
Amy (35), who started her Dundee and Angus College journey at the age of 30 with a five-year-old and five-month-old in tow, believes her experience can help break barriers and attract new learners into the college community.
Amy, who was born in Dundee, said, “I went to university and completed two years but it wasn’t for me, so I then switched to college. I ended up doing three courses, beauty therapy, make-up artistry and hairdressing and, in addition to my College job, I’m also self-employed working in a salon in Arbroath on Saturdays. I’ve got the best of both worlds and am evidence that you can build a business from further education, even as a mature student and single mum. College is so accessible – you can come from anything and anywhere and find your calling. I like to think my kids have benefitted too, as I’ve managed to work around them and even got help from the College with my childcare as they were growing up.”
She added, “This year feels like a fresh start. Yes, we’re still being careful but there are no restrictions; students don’t have to book events and activities. They can come and go more freely. We’re working with former students to see what worked for them before, during and after lockdown. We’re excited to be back on campus and have lots planned to create the buzz we all miss, but we are also sensitive to our students’ needs and feelings and will tap into all of this as part of our planning. Suffice to say, whatever your interest, we’re here to bring people together and get people connected so your student experience is the best it can be.”
Officially the top performing College in Scotland for students successfully gaining their qualifications according to national results data, Dundee and Angus College has three campuses, Gardyne, Kingsway and Arbroath. Each campus offers courses that are aligned to the growing opportunities and jobs in the region with new courses starting this year in engineering, science and green energy.
On exam results day, Further Education Minister Jamie Hepburn said, “Scotland’s colleges offer incredible opportunities for young people looking to acquire the new skills needed for today’s workforce. Other students might be looking to improve their results and then move on to a higher level of study in college or onto university. Colleges across the country also offer outstanding training for increasing numbers of apprentices. Scotland’s colleges provide world-class learning for everyone and I hope every school leaver considers them a first-choice destination.”
Echoing Mr Hepburn’s sentiments, Simon Hewitt, Principal of Dundee and Angus College, said, “As the Further Education Minister said last week, all school leavers should consider college as their first choice. At Dundee and Angus, we’ve got the facilities, supportive environment and industry connections within a region which is thriving. With a higher intake of apprentices than ever before, within sectors which are escalating in our region, students can also learn while earning. In turn, they’ll gain the best hands-on, up-to-the-minute exposure to their industry of choice, whether it’s digital, hospitality or engineering.
“Because learning should be lifelong, we’re here for the mature students too and understand that learners have other priorities to juggle. Perhaps you’re seeking to explore a new avenue or career while still holding onto the flexibility you need for family commitments or part-time employment. We love hearing from students who come back to upskill and sometimes reskill for a new career altogether.
“And if you think your son or daughter will end up working solely from their bedroom, that’s not the case. Due to the practical elements of most of our courses, most teaching and learning will be in-person and, where blended learning does apply, our digital offering is much more sophisticated and efficient than before, from staying in touch with classmates if you’re absent to re-visiting notes from a previous lecture.”
Meanwhile, for those still contemplating their next steps, it is not too late to apply.
Mr Hewitt added, “With so many course options available at Dundee and Angus College, you can start your career journey at college before moving on to employment or university. We have formal articulation agreements in place with all local universities and, by completing an HNC here, you could go straight into second year at university or, if you complete an HND, could fast-track straight into third year.”