Well done Dundee and Angus College!

I regularly attend meetings of the Bonnie Dundee group, the group that encourages improvements to the Dundee environment and helps local groups who keep Dundee’s parks, open areas, streets and gardens in good shape.
We have been pleased to have input from a staff representative from Dundee and Angus College whose horticulture students kindly agreed to undertake a project to improve the site at the back of the Overgate Centre.
The project has gone well and the students have done a great job with a good floral display and new seating now provided – see below :



Unleashing Creativity at Dundee and Angus College

Over 30 budding creative entrepreneurs from Dundee and Angus College have been working with Dundee Heritage Trust partners on an exciting range of projects for the new High Mill Open Gallery. The entrepreneurs consisted of 3D designers and interactive media developers.
The 3D design entrepreneurs developed plans and sketch perspectives to illustrate their design ideas for the interior of the new Hill Mills Open Gallery.    These designs were then developed into 2D digital models using specialist 2D software.
The brief for the Interactive Media entrepreneurs was to develop a mobile friendly website for the gallery.    The website allows visitors to access architects drawings and get the latest news and images on the development of the gallery.
This exhibition is open daily at Verdant Works until 18th January and will demonstrate the development phases for both these projects, along with the finished products.   It is well worth a visit.

Maiden Voyage official launch event

This afternoon, along with a number of other city councillors and other invited guests, I had the pleasure of attending the Maiden Voyage official launch event at the Wellgate Centre.
Created by students at Dundee and Angus College studying NQ Advanced Enterprise in Business, this pop-up shop is an excellent initiative.    As the students say, “As part of our studies we are open and run a pop up shop in the Wellgate Centre for a period of 6 weeks in the lead up to Christmas. 
“Our group of 14 students have been directly involved in all aspects of this project, from restoring and painting the fixtures and fittings that will be used to display stock, to planning the store layout and selecting merchandise. The shop has been designed to allow for a classroom at the rear of the sales floor. We will be working in the shop as well as learning about knowledge and skills required by businesses to be successful and so are gaining valuable experience at many levels. 
“The shop, called ‘Maiden Voyage’ opens on 6th November and is located on the 2nd floor of the Wellgate Shopping Centre. The design, created by last year’s HND Retail Management students, is inspired by a vintage cruise liner featuring a mix of opulent and industrial themes. We are selling a range of ladies fashion, accessories and gifts.”
Here’s Grant Ritchie, Depute Principal of Dundee and Angus College, at the opening of ‘Maiden Voyage’ this afternoon:

SNP college cuts damaging the chances of Dundonians wanting to study

Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats have shown that there are over 80 000 fewer part-time places in Scotland’s colleges since 2009.    Answers to freedom of information requests have shown that there are only 8 000 more full time places in the same timeframe.  
Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has warned that the £25 million SNP government cut to college budgets combined with the pace of reforms being demanded by ministers could put a further chokehold on opportunities when thousands remain out of work. 
Commenting on the figures, Liam said, “College principals have already warned that the government’s £25 million cut from college budgets next year will undermine the sector’s ability to cope with reforms being demanded by ministers. These figures show that colleges have already cut part-time places in their thousands. With over 80 000 fewer part-time places in Scotland’s colleges since 2009, Scottish Liberal Democrats are concerned about the impact a further £25 million cut will have on students.
“The complexity and pace of the regionalisation reforms are challenging enough.  However, they are made almost impossible to manage successfully by the depth and scale of the funding cuts being applied by Mike Russell. This cut puts a further chokehold on opportunities at a time when thousands remain out of work.
“If we are to build a stronger economy in a fairer society we must provide a range of opportunities which enable people to get on in life. The SNP government’s focus on full time opportunities for young people should not be at the expense of lifelong learning opportunities for all other age groups. 
“In the face of these worrying figures the Education Secretary can no longer afford to ignore the resounding chorus of concerns from the sector. Colleges must be given the funds and the flexibility to deliver courses in a way which best meets the needs of their students and their local areas.”
Commenting on the Dundee College situation, I have pointed out that, in Dundee College alone there are 9 591 fewer part-time enrolments this year compared to 2009, but only 18 more full time students.    There are therefore vastly fewer opportunities for Dundee people who wish to learn.   
This reduction in part-time places could affect Dundee parents, carers and others who find it impossible to study full time.   It is really bad news for the local college sector and SNP bad choices are having a really detrimental effect.
Notes :   We asked: how many students have enrolled in the institution in each of the last three years (2009-2012) broken down by part-time (PT) students and full-time (FT) students?   Dundee College figures below: