With the return of the college library, an on-campus Board Strategy Day, external student visits, the first SQA exams since 2019 and most facilities now reopened across the College, it really does feel like the pandemic is all but behind us (I hope!).
Plans are well advanced for the first 'normal' on campus year since 2019! Although there is a degree of flexibility with working/studying in a blended capacity, and a lot of learning from the pandemic, there really is no substitute for staff and students being back together on campus.
We are pleased to welcome our students and staff back to a safe and secure campus in August 2022 and being on campus gives students that full college experience. We are keen to learn from the past two years so where blended learning has worked for groups of students the College is keen continue this practice We are all really excited to see the College full of students which creates an excellent atmosphere for all.
Despite the challenges of the past two years, our students and staff have continued to astound us with their ability to excel and succeed. Our Construction section have gone from strength to strength with their Dulux Paint partnership, our Hospitality students prepared and served lunch "fit for a President” to guests including Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Boris Johnson at COP26 in Glasgow and our Make-up Artistry students worked on set, to create and apply the horror make-up for the film Mercy Falls which is set for release in the not-too-distant future.
At South Lanarkshire College we place a strong focus on our community’s health and wellbeing, the College is absolutely committed to supporting individuals who are experiencing poor mental health and to remove the stigma by normalising conversations about mental health to encourage everyone to prioritise their emotional wellbeing.
During the 2021/22 session, we wanted to ensure our students and staff knew they had our full support. We gave around 1500 free smile boxes to students and staff, the boxes included facemasks, chocolate, organic teabags and a bespoke mental health guide. The aim of the smile box initiative was to deliver a tailored health and wellbeing resource free to students and staff to continue to break down the stigma of speaking about mental health.
South Lanarkshire College is fully committed to providing a safe, supportive, inclusive learning environment for all. In the past year, we have embraced the Scottish Government’s Equally Safe Strategy by developing a set of corporate documents to help achieve the vision of preventing gender-based violence.
Students have advised that they feel the College is a safe place to study and are aware of how to report any concerns. South Lanarkshire College supported the annual 16 Days of Action event in November 2021 by featuring our Gender Based Violence prevention and support awareness campaign across the College community. The campaign featured heavily on our digital channels, and we had a significant focus this year on highlighting the dangers of spiking. We offered all students and staff free anti-spiking devices, as well as personal alarms.
All of these achievements are just a drop in the ocean of the positive stories I have listened to and been involved in over the past year at South Lanarkshire College. Students and staff continue to astound us with their dedication, hard work and commitment, and we cannot wait to see what the future holds. Bring on the class of 2022/23.
Stella McManus, Depute Principal, South Lanarkshire College
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