West Lothian College Lockdown update

Staff and students of West Lothian College have been working hard throughout quarantine to make sure they are there to support each other, their community and get work completed on time.

Supporting the community

Lecturer Rebecca Nicol has been donating lots of the clay creations she makes to St John’s hospital in Livingston.  In her area of Eliburn she has been putting out little stones with positive messages on and some of her clay creations to cheer the neighbourhood up.

Some of Rebeccas trinkets hidden around Eliburn Park

She says: “I just love being kind to people, at work I quite often bring in stuff that I make for the work room for a little treat and I actually missed showing kindness to people during lockdown! That is one thing that I feel that I am really good at. I thought of what I could do to help, first the NHS, and I straight away thought of my clay creations, that might cheer some people up a bit during their difficult days!”

Assisted Programmes lecturers James Markey and Sheila Jamieson recently completed the 2.6 challenge. The 2.6 Challenge was set up to help save charities across the UK by raising funds through any activity – from running 2.6 miles to holding an online workout with 26 of your friends.

James cycled 26km on an exercise bike and Sheila climbed her stairs 26 times and told 26 jokes on various Zoom encounters. James and Sheila were raising money for West Lothian Financial Inclusion, a small local charity that is delivering meals and providing support for vulnerable people during the current crisis and have managed to raise £563.52 so far.

Childhood Practice and Sports and Fitness Lecturer Kirstin Shemilt has been helping families with home learning as Chair of charity The School Bank in West Lothian.

Lecturer Kirstin Shemilt

She said: “At The School Bank West Lothian, we have been providing home learning and activity packs to children in families who have been struggling to provide learning resources during the pandemic/lockdown. We have been supplying these to families who have been collecting free school meals from the hub schools. Headteachers have also been taking the packs to families when they have been delivering the meals to their homes.”

Hospitality Lecturer Paul Holburn has been out and about recently with Blood Bikes Scotland delivering urgent items for the NHS. Blood Bikes Scotland offers a free transport service to the NHS and is run by volunteers like Paul in their own time. They support teams in primary care including GPs, district nurses, care homes and community health centres, as well as secondary care hospitals.

Feedback from students

The Children’s Hearings Scotland Learning Academy has been hard at work to progress their students through their course in order to meet the looming deadline of the May 18 which was the official date of Ministerial Appointment.

Lorraine Ballingall, CHS Learning Academy Depute Manager, said: “We are delighted to announce that all 393 hard-working students, most of whom have full-time jobs and families to look after, have met this target and have been appointed as members of their local Children’s Panel.”

The Learning Academy has received many communications of praise and thanks, here is just one from Bob Sim (and his guide dog Gem):

“Many thanks for forwarding the feedback from the Saturday session – I am really happy it is so positive and it is only thanks to you and your team that any of us trainees get to the stage we are at – please pass my sincere thanks on to all your team and the facilitators. The effort that must have gone into arranging the digital day 6 and 7 at such short notice is very much appreciated.

“This has been one of the best training courses I have ever completed and I have personally gained so much more than I expected from it. The course content and delivery were excellent and pitched exactly right for addressing the difficult topics. And Gem loved all the attention!”

This wonderful feedback was received from an HNC Childhood Practice Student: “As we are approaching the end of our HNC Childhood Practice course I would just like to say a huge thank you for all of the support I have received from you during the year, and especially over this lockdown period. It has been challenging working from home, balancing home schooling and studying however, you have remained positive, encouraged everyone to stay focussed, been flexible with each of our situations and kept the learning fun and interesting.

“As a group everyone shared feelings of anxiety as these last few weeks have been unsettling but you have offered support in many ways to each of us and without your help we wouldn’t have managed!

“So again, thank you for all of your help, it’s much appreciated! Without your support, completing this course wouldn’t have been possible!”

Another student added: “Just wanted to say a massive thank you for everything you have done this year at college and the Teams meetings. You were so well organised and every lesson felt like I knew exactly what to do and when to do it for which was amazing!”

Another student gave some feedback on Chef Lecturer Andy McDougall (whose videos you might have seen on the blog recently).

“I have been working longer hours than ever during this period as I have a wee shop in Linlithgow where we have had to resort to doing deliveries. We are working totally crazy hours but during all of this madness I have always made time to view Andy’s videos, tips and quizzes. He’s also been on hand personally when I’ve found the going tough for a quick email or phone call.”

Students working hard

 HNC Art students at West Lothian College are celebrating as they all secure degree offers to move on to university.

All 13 students on the course have secured degree offers on courses ranging from graphic design to fashion communication. With less than a 5% chance of obtaining a place at a specialist art institution the students have beaten the odds to secure their place.

On top of that, eight of the students have the option of going directly into year 2 of their studies.

HNC Art students

Four students from West Lothian College have made it into the top ten of the City and Guilds Skills Zone National Leader Board.

The Centre for Construction and Motor Vehicle within the college piloted the City and Guilds Skills Zone online portal this year with their students to help them with their essential skills development.

This was the first time that centre has tried working with and using Skill Zone, to begin with some students were unsure about the challenge but soon became familiar with the style of working. After a couple of tries they were working through the sections without hesitation.

Electrical engineering students have been working with Aico, a market leader in domestic fire and carbon monoxide protection – who have also donated equipment, and offered to provide educational based material through webinars to support our first and second year SECTT apprenticeship groups. They are also working with Electrical Industries Charity to offer mental health training via webinar. This provides an excellent resource for students to ask questions and talk to their peers.

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