Minister gets hands on experience of how GCU is changing lives

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:26:00 BST
Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP practising CPR with second year Adult Nursing students (L-R) Nicola Ross, Robyn Moodie, Autumn-Marie Taylor and Amanda-Stirling.
Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP practising CPR with second year Adult Nursing students (L-R) Nicola Ross, Robyn Moodie, Autumn-Marie Taylor and Amanda-Stirling.

Each year, more than 1,000 college students are accepted on to degree courses at Glasgow Caledonian University. Scottish Government minister, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP has been hearing first hand how moving from college to university is helping students fulfil their career ambitions.

Chris Anderson was touring concert venues around the world supporting a band, when he realised he was in the wrong job. He’s now studying for a BSc in Paramedic Science thanks to a college access course to university.

Chris, who is 39 and originally from Bellshill, said “I witnessed a few injuries that happened in the large crowds that gathered for our concerts. I watched the emergency personnel that came in, taking ill or injured people out of the crowds and looking after them and work they did seemed both exciting and important. It inspired me to change direction, go to college and now I’ll be ready to apply to the ambulance service when I graduate.”

Chris was one of the students meeting the Further and Higher Education Minister as she learned about the University’s College Connect programme to support college students moving on to degree courses.

Ms Somerville, said: “This has been a good opportunity to see the work that Glasgow Caledonian University is taking forward to support students from a variety of backgrounds to fulfil their potential at university.

“Widening access is a key priority for this Government. Part of delivering this change is looking at examples of best practice to understand what works well and sharing that learning across the university sector.

“The work that Glasgow Caledonian University does to support students articulating from college is a clear demonstration of the university’s commitment to the widening access agenda. It was a privilege to meet Chris and hear his amazing story – it really brings home how important college is as a route into university and why it is imperative that we do what we can as a government and as a sector to make these opportunities more readily available.”

Glasgow Caledonian University welcomes more than 1,000 students from 17 colleges around Scotland each year, the second largest intake in the country. As well as access to summer schools, college applicants can also use the library, gym and computing labs to help them prepare for the move to university.

The University’s Head of Outreach, Eleanor Wilson MBE, said: “We work closely with colleges to make Glasgow Caledonian University first choice for many students. Our admissions procedures recognise applicant’s potential with measures in place to support students from the beginning. Through our student mentors and highly-skilled staff, we aim to ease transition from college to university by creating an excellent student experience.  Their prospects are very good, because we have just recorded our best-ever figures for students completing their degrees and 97% are in work or further study six months after graduation.”

Chris Anderson says the college courses he took were a perfect preparation for university. He is now going out on placement as part of his course and he’s certain he’s made the right move. “I get to go out observing and assisting qualified paramedics as they work. I've had a lot of jobs in my life, but nothing compares to that feeling of riding in the ambulance on the way to help someone who is in a life-threatening situation. To be able to be there, to be equipped and trained to help-out and maybe save a life is just amazing. It’s a lot more exciting than a tour bus.”

Popular courses for students coming from college to Glasgow Caledonian University include Business Management, Cyber Security, Physiotherapy and Optometry.

Shirley-Anne Somerville