Scotland’s colleges work closely with industry and individual businesses and have a long-established ability to anticipate and respond to their needs. This helps to give colleges a crucial role in Scotland’s innovation economy and puts them in a position to make a real difference to the country’s future prosperity. Colleges’ relationships with the public sector, with NHS trusts and with other care providers also means they make a significant contribution to the nation’s health and well-being.
The Scottish Funding Council has a strategic programme of investments in college innovation.
In 2018-19 we used money made available by the Scottish Government to support three strands of pilot activity. These funded FUTUREquipped; the college innovation accelerouchers provided to businesses through Interface
For 2019-2020 we followed this up with a £500,000 college innovation fund. This is currently funding seven college innovation projects.
All seven projects have a firm eye on the future. Three of them address the emerging skills needs created by growing numbers of people moving to electric and hybrid vehicles. These projects are based at Dundee and Angus College, Edinburgh College and Glasgow Clyde College.
In Dundee and Angus, the college is working with industry experts to ensure an efficient transition to the new precision farming methods made possible by recent advances in agricultural technology.
West College Scotland is teaming up with a hundred forward-looking businesses to develop the skills which will be needed by the engineer of the future. At Forth Valley College, the focus is on the changing nature of healthcare. Over 3,000 care staff could benefit from an ambitious project to increase digital health skills in the sector.
Finally, at Border’s College, a brand new training hub in Eyemouth will use digital learning resources to ensure that boat building and repair will continue to provide increasingly high-tech jobs in South East Scotland.