SCQF College Ambassador Case Study - Dumfries and Galloway College
Background to SCQF College Ambassador programme
The College Ambassador Programme aims to encourage colleges to engage with the SCQF in a range of different ways to raise awareness and understanding of the Framework among a wider audience. This will enable college staff to cascade their knowledge of the benefits of the Framework and credit rating across the college with the full support of the SCQF Partnership Executive Team.
It is anticipated that the programme will maximise the impact of the Framework, ensuring that it is perceived as a vital tool for progression; facilitating Senior Phase learning pathways and supporting the aims of the Developing the Young Workforce agenda. It will also ensure that the benefits of the Framework are being communicated to staff and learners right across the college landscape.
Background to the College
Dumfries & Galloway College sits in a rural area in in the South of Scotland and is the gateway to Scotland, England and Ireland. The main campus is in Dumfries with a smaller campus in Stranraer. Staff engage with the local community as well as regional economic and social development agencies, which ensures that our curriculum reflects the needs of the local economy. We are the “College without Walls” and deliver a range of SCQF credit rated programmes from Highers to Degree programmes with articulation links with the Crichton University Campus that sits on our doorstep.
Can you tell us about one way in which the college has successfully used the SCQF?
The College works closely with Dumfries and Galloway Council Education Department, and has successfully seen SCQF levels added to school options forms ensuring that learners, parents/carers understand SCQF levels and progression pathways from an early age. The College has also introduced SCQF guidance materials and resources, such as the Framework postcard, Old v New and the SCQF Database at open evenings in schools and colleges which is helping to promote the understanding of the Framework.
As 15 high schools in the region are now SCQF Ambassador Schools, we have a joint strategy with Dumfries and Galloway Council in broadening learners’, parents’/carers’ and local employers‘ knowledge on qualification levels within the Framework, progression pathways and the skills that these levels represent when learners move into work. The college is keen to promote lifelong learning to learners of all ages and abilities and help to promote the local economy by offering appropriate training to meet the local labour market requirements.
Becoming an SCQF Ambassador College has also enabled our trained Ambassadors to cascade the benefits of the Framework and offer additional training to cross college teams on the benefits of the SCQF. It is now the common language we all use when referring to the many different courses we offer.
Douglas Dickson, Vice Principal – Learning, Skills and Student Experience at Dumfries and Galloway College, says “Our ongoing relationship with the SCQF Partnership sees us innovatively use the Framework to develop courses for our students which is a vital tool for progression. Having SCQF Ambassador Status means employers can be confident in the standards that we work to.”
And what have the benefits been for learners, the college, partners and any other organisations/third party organisation?
Prospective students can clearly see how college qualifications complement the qualifications they may already hold, and parents/carers can equate the levels to a qualification level they may hold. This allows informed decisions to be made regarding what level students are entering at and their ability to succeed at that level. This provides comfort, promotes confidence and helps ease any anxieties that prospective students may have when moving to college from school or returning to education after a break in study. The SCQF then allows students to explain their skills to future employers or enables progression to further study.
The college through its partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Education Department can now continue to promote the use of SCQF levels in schools and to aid understanding in the region.
Lesley Watson, Education Officer - Senior Phase at Dumfries and Galloway Council, says:
“I would like to congratulate Dumfries and Galloway College on achieving SCQF Ambassador status. This will further strengthen the links between secondary schools and the college as we strive to provide a wide range of relevant courses and pathways for all our learners in the Senior Phase. The SCQF ensures a common language and understanding of progression routes available through the College Academy offer.”
As an SCQF College Ambassador what are your future plans for using and promoting the SCQF?
In the future the College would like to credit rate more programmes and units and currently has a project underway. We will continue to work closely with the SCQF Partnership for ongoing support and training of existing and new curriculum staff on credit rating.
The college would also like to strengthen its partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Education Department and continue to work for the benefit of our learners, our community and our local economy.
The commitment of Dumfries & Galloway College to continue to use SCQF levels on marketing materials will help learners and their families to understand the progression pathways and benefits of the SCQF. The college will also ensure our Ambassadors working at team level will continue to cascade and promote the SCQF resources available to all existing and new staff within the college.