Mental Health and Wellbeing Award

An Award, An Academy and Some Skills Profiling.

Another Friday, another Blog update for you and we have some great news for you this week.

First this week, Stow College has been honoured, for the second time, for their commitment to mental health and has received a Commendation Award for Mental Health and Wellbeing from The Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives.  This honour makes Stow College the first further education establishment in Scotland to retain both a Commendation Award and a Healthy Working Lives Gold Award.

The driving force behind a range of successful initiatives is the College’s Healthy Working Lives committee – a group of staff members working together to make sure everyone is happy and healthy. Projects have included Health MOT days, corrective breathing courses and advice sessions with health and fitness experts.  Congratulations to everyone involved in securing this commendation award!!  If you would like to read more on this story then our News and Events page on the website.

Next up some information on Core Skills Profiling from Margaret Cooke in the Hub.  We are now in our third full year of using the Tribal software package to profile the core skills of our FE learners.  Core Skills Profiling will once again be carried out by Hub staff prior to the start of term.  Every learner who has been accepted for an FE course (NC, NQ, Pathways, Access, etc.) will be profiled.  The learners will complete 2 profiles, which will review their numeracy and communications skills.  The results are given using SCQF credit ratings.

Last session we managed to profile in excess of 650 learners before the beginning of term.  Hopefully we will be able to accomplish a similar feat this session, as data shows that more learners were identified or approached the Hub for support at an earlier stage than in any other academic year.  This meant that learners accessed appropriate support at a time when it is most beneficial to students, helping in the improvement in retention.   A further benefit for the students and indeed staff, is that the profiles will provide a basis for a learning plan and will also highlight ESOL issues.

When the learners have completed their profile they will be directed to appropriate top-up materials.  It is vital that all tutors encourage and support students in the completion of the top up activities.  Tutors can have access to the results and suggested resources for their learners, just pop into the Hub if you do not have a username and password for the package.  Tutors and support for learning staff can also check learner progress and review how often a learner uses the system.  All top up materials can also be used in a classroom environment and in group work.

To date feedback from learners and staff has been extremely positive, all are impressed by the ease of use of the package and also with the resources which are available to enhance and improve learning.  The support materials which are signposted for all learners, also give them the opportunity to take control of their own learning.  If you would like to try the profiling software, please contact Margaret Cooke in the Hub, Ext 611, mcooke@stow.ac.uk for a demonstration and trial.  Go on, have a go and try to beat the scores of your students!

We have some exciting news for you now, Stow College will be running a one year BTEC Diploma course in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship through the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy (PJEA).  This scheme has been running since 2009 and there are over 30 PJEA centres south of the border, however Stow will be the first academy in Scotland.  The course will start on the 25th of September and will have places for 20 students at our Stow West building.

The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy at Stow has been set-up by Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones CBE and offers further education courses in enterprise and entrepreneurship.  Students are required to set up and run their own businesses as part of the learning process so gain hands on experience as well as classroom learning.  The students will also take part in masterclasses, which will be run by various businesses.  This will be a fantastic opportunity for all the students involved.

Finally for this week Chris Greenshields from Learner Services has requested that that students refer to Learner Services for the most up to date Funding information to avoid any confusion on what is and is not covered by your grant/bursary/EMA.  This includes the completion of Council Tax forms.  So if in doubt contact Chris and his team.

Well that’s us again for this week, hope to see you back again next Friday.

Student Awards, Constellations, Donations and a Candid Shot!!

As we head into the Spring and have left Winter firmly behind us (hopefully!!!) we can look forward to the Spring break and all the delights this time of year brings. For now though we will bring you up to date with what has been going on over the past week.

First this week, news from Jill Sutcliffe on a fantastic student achievement. On Thursday the 22nd of March, the SCECTG (Scottish Civil Engineering Contractor’s Training Group) awarded a prize for ‘the Best Contractor-Oriented Civil Engineering Student’ for 2010 to Scott Todd who completed his HND in Civil Engineering last year and is currently a student at UWS. Scott received a book, certificate and cash prize in recognition of his efforts at Stow.

CECTG asked us to nominate a student from those who completed the full-time HND in June. We had several strong students and chose to nominate Scott for his good work on the HND and because Scott had maintained his links with industry throughout his time here. Civil Engineers work in client organizations, local authorities, in design consultancies or for contractors. CECTG is therefore interested in encouraging students to consider contracting rather than the others. They originally offered these prize to the local universities to nominate their students and recently included Stow also. Congratulations to Scott on his award!!

Our student spot is becoming quite popular and this week we have another short write-up, this time from Aimy MacMurray and Sarah Ferries, two of our HND Music Business students.

‘After starting Stow College in August, the HND Music Business course proved interesting and extremely useful in giving us an insight into the industry in which we wanted to pursue a career. Both of us are thoroughly enjoying every aspect of the course, so much so that as part of the graded unit, we decided to enter into business partnership since we were already friends and start up Constellation Concerts – a new live promoter working in and around Glasgow, Scotland. Set up by Sarah Ferries and Aimy Macmurray, we are currently searching for bands or artists to participate in our first live gig which will be in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust during early May.

Although it is just the beginning for us, we are very hopeful that the first night will be a success both by raising our profile and the bands that play, as well as raising money for such a reputable charity. We have a Facebook page and also a Twitter account for any updates when we have finalised details:

Also, if any budding artists would be interested in playing the show or would like any details from us at all then don’t hesitate to contact us by email; constellationconcerts@gmail.com’

Thanks for that Aimy and Sarah, it’s always reat to hear how our students are getting on. Remember you can send in something for the blog too, just email it to Tracey Borland

Next some new from Douglas Thomson about a new meetup being held in Stow. The college hosted the first meeting on the 27th of March of the Glasgow “Programming Newbies” meetup. This is a group designed to bring together people interested in coding with those already in the field, maybe looking to start a business, get some experience that sort of thing. There is already a group in Edinburgh and the man who runs it, Allan Lloyds, was keen to get a Glasgow group going. He came to us because our tutor for the Ruby on Rails course is a friend of his. It was small in numbers to start off with, but the same thing happened with the Edinburgh group and it built up over time. If you would like more information you can visit their Meetup page. The next meeting is scheduled for the 17th of April, again at Stow, we wish them well and hope the group grows in numbers and strength.

Also from Douglas a wee update on one of the school groups he tutors. A group of S2 boys and girls from St. Mungo‘s Academy recently completed an ‘Italian for Work‘ unit at Celtic Learning Centre. They produced original websites in Italian using Dreamweaver. This initiative was another successful interdisciplinary partnership between Glasgow City Council, Stow College and Celtic Learning Centre. The impressive sites can be viewed at: http://www.fawndoo.com/italianforwork

Now Archie Dickson has an update on money raised for charity earlier in the year. A cheque for £868.60 was presented to Glasgow Association for Mental Health by Ayesha Fairley, a 1st year Events Management student. 1st and 2nd year students organised and managed a Burns Night Ceilidh in January of this year as part of their Work Experience.

The students tutor, Mark Baillie, who gave the address to the Haggis on the night commented, “events like these add a real dynamic to the course and prepare our students for the real industry environment once they finish their studies, they were a credit to themselves and the college”.

Jenny Bunting from the charity commented on the professionalism of the students and the success of the night. “the students delivered what they said they would, a great Ceilidh, a fantastic night for all who attended and raised a significant sum of money for the charity”.

Finally for this week, as many of you know this was a great week for the sun and I am sure you all enjoyed it. Following in the footsteps of some of Scotland’s greatest teachers, one of Stow’s lecturer’s decided ‘it’s sunny, take them outside’ and made their class mobile. These students were caught learning as they basked in the Glasgow sunshine. This is just an example of Life at Stow and we hope you show you more candid shots like this over the next few weeks. If you manage to snap something in Stow you want us to see, email it to Tracey Borland and we’ll put it up on Facebook and the best ones will be included in the blog.

That’s us for this week and unfortunately, due to the Easter break, we wont be back until Friday the 20th of April. Have a great holiday, don’t eat too much chocolate and we’ll see you back here in a couple of weeks.

Design Pants, Mental Health Awareness and A Student’s Experience!!!!

Welcome back to our weekly blog update.

First this week some news of an enterprise competition.  This competition is being run by Pants to Poverty an Gazelle and it’s called the ‘Pantrepreneur Challenge’ and it gives you the chance to work on a ‘real’ business where you will design, produce and sell themed pair of pants.  You will get the chance to show off all your business skills including those you have in sales and marketing.  Not only will it provide you with an invaluable business experience, you will also have a chance of winning one of the great prizes – including a trip to India!!  The competition is open to anyone from the age of 16 plus and Archie Dickson is in the process of setting up teams to take part in the challenge.  If you think you would be interested in taking part then please contact Archie.  For more information on the Pants to Poverty charity and Gazelle, visit their websites.

Now for another piece by a student, this time it’s by Cherry Hei Tsui, one of our International students.  Cherry is studying on our HND Business course and she will be telling us about an important meeting she recently attended.

‘I am Cherry. I am an international student who is studying HND business in Stow College. I have heard this meeting from Douglas, the school Business & International Development Department Team Leader.

The visit is about the Hong Kong Undersecretary for Education would be visiting in Scotland, they would like to invite the student from Hong Kong to have a meeting. The meeting was on Thursday 15 March between 3 and 4pm at the Playfair Library, Old College, Edinburgh University, South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL.

The meeting was about the 334 system which is the new education system in Hong Kong is practicing in Hong Kong. In the past, Hong Kong is using the 523 system that means 7 years in secondary school and 3 years in the university, but now it has changed in to 334 system which means the students have to study for 6 years in the secondary school and 4 years in the university. This coming year is a special year because it is the first year the system changed and the UK and Hong Kong would like to continue their collaboration. They would like the students in Hong Kong or the UK may have a chance to study overseas.

The Hong Kong delegation were using a chatting group format. They came and chatted with you one by one, they asked about your background and the living life in Scotland. Also, they have introduced themselves and give us some advices. Overall the meeting just wanted to know more about our studies in Scotland and give us some advices for our future.’

Thank you to Cherry for this insight into her meeting with the Hong Kong Under-secretary for Education, we appreciate the time she has taken to share this with us.

Next a little health information.  Each year one in 4 people experience a mental health problem.  By tackling stigma and discrimination around mental health problems in the workplace, employers can make a positive impact on the lives of people who are experiencing, or have experienced , mental illness. Challenging negative assumptions about mental health problems and recovery from them helps everyone, and means people are more likely to seek help earlier and recover more quickly.  ‘see me’, is Scotland’s national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination of mental ill-health.

Every employer has a legal duty of care to ensure that their employees mental health is taken into account and Stow College is no different.  We take a comprehensive and integrated approach to mentally healthy employment, including promoting he mental wellbeing of all our employees and of course students.

Stow is currently aiming to get the Mental Health and Well-being Commendation Award.  The Commendation Award sets a workplace standard for good practice in promoting positive mental health and well-being, supporting staff with mental health problems in the workplace and reducing barriers to recruiting staff with a history of mental health problems.  There are only a handful of employers in Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS region that hold both the HWL Gold Award and the Mental Health Commendation Award.  We are making every effort to add the Commendation Award to our Gold HWL Award.

Finally for this week a wee update on Moodle.  The college is currently using Moodle version 1.9. and Moodle community support for this version will end in July 2012.  Moodle 2 is the latest version of the platform and has a number of changes in its operation for both staff and students.  To help us prepare for the new Moodle we have been putting a strategy in place for the changeover.  One of the aims of this will be to provide an ‘Introduction to Using Moodle 2’ course for students.  This will be piloted April to June and rolled out in August 2012. The underlying principles behind the introduction to Moodle 2 course is that:

  • It will be a taught course delivered by Faculty staff
  • It will be accredited
  • It will provide students with the basic skills to navigate around and use Moodle 2 confidently
  • Completion of the introduction to Moodle 2 course will allow students to access Faculty based teaching and learning materials

Something to look forward to, remember to visit your Moodle site regularly.

That’s us again for this week, but be sure to come back next Friday for more news and updates.

A Bronze Award, A Farcical Production and Marathon Run!!

Friday already and time for our weekly blog, we have a few stories and photos for you this time, so enjoy the read.

First this week is a big Congratulations to the Stow College Marketing Department, who won the Bronze Award in the Integrated Marketing Campaign of the Scottish Colleges Marketing Awards.  The Marketing Awards and Annual Conference, which was held on the 23rd of February in the Royal Hotel, was a celebration of the excellent marketing practice in Scotland’s colleges and colleges from across Scotland were recognised for their hard work in a number of categories.  For a full list of categories and the winners, visit the Scotland’s Colleges website and well done again to our Marketing Team.

Now for some Creative Industries updates.  On Thursday the 16th of February, several of our NC, HN1 and HN2 Sound Production students visited the BBC studios in Pacific Quay at the invitation of the Audio Engineering Society (Scotland branch).  The evening included talks on the technical aspects of the move from Queen Margaret Drive, their sound desk and communications systems, followed by a tour of the studio facilities.  The highlight (for students and staff) was the tour of the studios and control rooms. The talks were quite intensive, and although sometimes struggling to understand the content, the students appreciated the information, found it interesting, and gained an insight into possible career opportunities.

Also David Hughes has let us know that our TV production Learners, who have been working, under the supervision of Stella Tobia and Fiona McEwan, with the GFT to record many of the interviews and events that occur during the Glasgow Film Festival.  The link below takes you to the Festival site where many of the short video clips  -typically 3 minutes are posted.  These are interviews with Directors etc. discussing their films.  These clips are a sample of some of the completed work of out Learners and demonstrate the standard to which they are working.

If you want to see some of the work from our Learners then have a look at the GFF website: 6th down – Decoy Bride, 7th Down – Cloudburst and 12th  down – The Monk.  Given that this goes out to an International audience it is tremendous marketing for the College.

Next a performance, Stow College’s Stowaways are set to have audiences laughing in their seats with their version of a classic comic farce when the theatre group take on their biggest show yet, the 1982 classic British comedy Noises Off.  Dave, who directs the show, said: “Noises Off is a big production, it requires a massive set which revolves as it is a play within a play”, however the technical theatre students took on that challenge.  The small cast of nine will portray the tangled relationships at the fictional drama group and the farce that follows.  Claire Grant, Brian Farrell, Phillip Toop, Jacqueline McDade, Erin Elkin, Nicky Gibb, Laura-Catherine Woods, Noel Boyd and Matthew Topping will debut the show at Rutherglen Town Hall on Wednesday, February 29.  Curtain up at 7.30pm, tickets priced £9/£6.50 concession. To buy tickets call the theatre box office on 0141 613 5700.

The last two pieces of Creative Industries news come from Mark Baillie.  We are pleased to announce that we will renew the partnership established last year between Stow College and Material, the Marketing company behind T in the Park. This will involve a Music Business 2nd-tear student assuming responsibility for various aspects of the annual T-break project, including marketing, social networking, liasing with press and radio contacts, and acting as artist liaison on-site at T in the Park. The following interview between George Kyle of Tennent’s and Geoff Ellis of DF concerts makes reference to the partnership – Interview Link.

Also Electric Honey South by SouthWest hopefuls Woodenbox will play a special fundraiser in King Tuts on March the 9th, the eve of their US tour.  Electric Honey would like to wish them, and label mates French Wives, who have also garnered a prestigious festival slot, every success in capitalising on this tremendous opportunity.

Related to the same faculty, but on different track, we have a man with a mission – Mr Douglas McIntyre.  Douglas is attempting to run the Edinburgh Marathon to raise money for Down’s Syndrome Scotland. This year DSS celebrates 30 years of working to improve the quality of life for everyone with Down’s syndrome and their families. Douglas has never run a marathon before, and assumes it’s a mid-life crisis on turning 50!  The training is a slog, but he is determined to make it, and he promises to give us a picture of him crossing the finishing line.  Douglas’s 8 year old daughter Matilda has Down’s syndrome and is an inspiration to the family and everyone who meets her.  DSS has been an invaluable source of support and information, so this is a cause close to his heart and any donation would be greatly appreciated.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. It’s easy to donate online with a credit or debit card – just go to my JustGiving page.

Next …… Douglas Thomson has passed on the following piece of news.  On Wednesday 25th January an enthusiastic group of S3 girls from Notre Dame High received an award for successfully completing a “French for Work” unit last term. The girls produced original websites using Dream-weaver. The initiative was another successful interdisciplinary partnership between Glasgow City Council, Stow College and Celtic Learning Centre. The participants were presented with a certificate by Celtic player Dylan McGeouch in the Number 7 restaurant.  If you are interested in seeing some of the work produced, you can see it by visiting the website.  Well done girls!!

That’s just about us again for the week, but before we go Ken McCluskey has been telling us about a gig he played with his brother at the CCA on Saturday the 25th of February.  The gig was organised by another member of the Stow staff, Ishbel Murray, from Stow West for a Ceol’s craic.  The event saw popular Scottish musician Alasdair Roberts launch his new album and folk duo The McCluskey Brothers, both founding members of the chart-topping Scottish eighties guitar band The Bluebells, brought their brand of jangly folk music to the busy evening programme.

Well we are finished for now, but make sure you come back again next Friday for more updates.

A Braw Ceilidh and Stow’s Musical Connections

We have lots of good news, stories and pictures for you this week, so let’s get straight into it.

First some news of a charity project that Stow has been involved in.  Thousands of people in one of Africa’s poorest nations have been given access to clean water for the first time, thanks, in part, to donations from Stow College.  More than 22,000 people in impoverished Mali are now able to wash, cook and drink knowing that they no longer face the risk of water-related diseases like cholera and dysentery.

Money for the African project was raised through AquaFund, a scheme run by water firm ADSM, which encourages organisations like Stow College to make environmental and financial savings in their domestic water supplies. 1% of revenue from AquaFund is then donated to WaterAid, helping to transform lives.

Great news for Electric Honey! Not one, but two of the label’s recent signings, Woodenbox and The French Wives have been selected to play at the music industry’s most prestigious conference and networking event South by Southwest. The annual event, which takes place in Austin, Texas between March 13-18, will see both bands performing at the coveted Creative Scotland showcase, which aims to present the best of emerging Scottish talent to a global audience.  SXSW attracts every kind of music industry practitioner including record labels, publishers, live music agents, press officers, radio producers, and online and digital professionals from around the globe who converge in Austin for a series of panel discussions, seminars, showcase events and keynote speeches, and represents a fantastic opportunity for the bands and the label to forge international links.

Now for an update on one of our events.  Stow College’s Burns Night Ceilidh once again proved to be a huge success, surpassing last year’s event.  Of the many highlights over the evening the speeches provided by Mark Baillie, Graham Mackie’s address to the ‘Ladies’ and the very creative approach of the reply to the ‘Laddies’ delivered by Ian ‘Elsie’ Sturrat stood out.

Our band for the evening ‘HaudYerLugs’ as always, never fail to deliver, and the feedback from all of those in attendance said it all, with many acclaiming the evenings band ‘as the best Ceilidh band they had heard or danced to’.

The event raised over £712.00 for the Stow Charity for this year the Glasgow Association for Mental Health.  This will hopefully become an annual event in the Stow event calendar, so don’t wait, book your tickets now for next year.

Next …… A number of 2nd-year Sound production students have been involved in King Tuts Wah Wah Hut’s annual music festival ‘New Year’s Revolution’ assuming sound engineering responsibilities on shows running from the 5th to 19th January.  This represented a great opportunity for students to engage with industry, and gain experience working in what the NME suggests is “quite possibly the finest small venue in the world”. Guillaume Coet, long-standing venue manager commented: “I was impressed by the diligence and expertise demonstrated by Stow students and I hope that this can lead to future projects between ourselves and the college”.

Student Steven Concannon who was involved in the project remarked on the experience: “it was a great opportunity to put the knowledge I’ve gained on the course into practice and to make contacts in the local music industry  and I thoroughly enjoyed it!”

Now for some promotional news from John Briody.  Weekly promotions will be starting on Monday 30th January.  The Market will kick things off on Monday 30th January till Friday 3rd February, with a Happy Hour from 08:00 am  until 09:00 am each morning, just buy any tea or Coffee and get a cookie for only 30p, there are more details of this in store.

Also Fontinella has a Panini and Pepsi offer on.  Grab yourself a Panini and a Pepsi for just £2.99, saving yourself 20p.  This offer is valid from Monday the 30th of January until Friday the 3rd of February.  Last, but by no means least, Food on Five and Stow West have the Big Breakfast deal.  Buy a five item breakfast and get a free tea or Coffee.  All sounds great!!

Finally for this week Stow College’s Marketing Department has some great news, they have been shortlisted for an award in the ‘Integrated Marketing Campaign’ category of the Scotland’s Colleges Marketing Awards.  This is a great achievement for Stow as ‘The awards are designed to recognise and celebrate excellent marketing practice in Scotland’s colleges.’ (quote from Scotland’s Colleges site).  Awards will be presented on Thursday the 23rd of February, so we will need to wait until then to find out what’s happened.  We’ll keep you posted.

That’s us for another week, but pop back next Friday for more Stow news.

Concrete Relationhips and Lighthouse Exhibitions!!

Another week gone already and another Blog update is due.  Well we have one for you, but it’s a short one this time, so let’s get started.

First this week is some news from Pamela McKinlay about one of our ASN students, Murray Foreman.  Murray, a Jewish Care Scotland client, featured in the Jewish Telegraph after he was given a special honour.  Murray represented students on the Enterprise Programme and at the Graduation Ceremony he was presented with a certificate for his achievements.  The picture is from the Jewish Telegraph and shows Murray, Social Work Assistant Alex Collins and Social Worker Michelle McKenna.

Next some school news.  Two of our student advisors, Muhammad Bilal and Estera Przysocka,  were at Lochend Community High School in Easterhouse, on the 18th of January, giving out Guidance and Advice to the pupils at one of the many recruitment Fayres we attend on behalf of the College.  Ryan Gillen was also at an event, attending Holyrood Secondary on Monday (16th January) night.  Hopefully the hard work will be rewarded with yet another record breaking year as we approach the opening of admissions for 2012/2013.

We have news of a great new partnership for you now.  Engineering and Technology students at Stow College are set to benefit from a pioneering new partnership.  A ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’ has been signed between Stow College and The Concrete Society Scotland (CSS) – a group which provides education, information and debate on the building material.  Despite remaining largely unloved due to its connections with 20th Century modernist architecture, concrete is at the core of construction in Scotland.  The new partnership has been created to provide students – on courses such as the HND Civil Engineering – with practical knowledge and understanding of the material.

The agreement creates a unique link between enterprise and education, giving students unrivalled access to information, education and debate on concrete and its future use and developments. It also creates industry-ready students qualified and properly equipped to understand and work in the modern-day construction and engineering world.

More project work now, in exhibition form.  Randak Design Consultants have designed and produced a permanent exhibition at The Lighthouse in the City Centre. The project tells the story of Glasgow and its people from prehistory to the present day.  Stow College have secured a significant position within the exhibition and will provide an installation portraying the importance of Stow College in ‘the story of Glasgow’. Drawing on an historical perspective and the changing face of college life in the city, Stow will present itself as a key educational institution which represents the foundation of innovative teaching since 1934.

Finally for this week a couple of quick reminders and a then a request.  Firstly please don’t forget to order your tickets for the Ceilidh, which is being held n Stow West on January the 25th.  A fantastic night will be had by all, so if you want to go along then let Archie Dickson know.

Next, Margaret Bradley has organised a lunchtime drop-in CV service for the last Wednesday of the Month. This service will start on Wednesday January 25th, from 11.30 am until 3.00 pm. So if you need help with your CV pop along and see her.

Lastly, you all know that we have our very own phone app and in fact probably a lot of you have downloaded this from iTunes or Android Marketplace.  We are not going to enter the second phase of development and we are looking for ideas for an Augmented Reality feature in the smartphone app.  So if any of you have an idea that you think would enhance our app and would use Augmented Reality, then please get in touch and send your ideas to Hilary Ramsay.

Well, that’s us for this week, but check back same time next Friday for more updates and news.

A Gold Award, A New Booking System and A Discount Card.

Welcome back to our wee blog.  It’s been  good week this week, news of awards and a discount scheme for students and no disruption, which is always good.  So let’s get on with it.

First this week an update for you on the Garnethill Day of Action, which took place on the Tuesday the 13th of December.  This event was a community clean up in partnership with Glasgow Community and Safety Services, McDonalds, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Strathclyde Police, Garnethill Community Council, Garnetbank Primary School, St Aloysius College, Land and Environmental Services and Stow College.  Several members of staff and students met up with other volunteers outside McDonalds on Sauchiehall Street and then proceeded to pick up all stray pieces of litter in the Garnethill area.  They did a fantastic job, leaving no trace of discarded crisp packets or juice cartons.  Well done to all involved and thank you for helping to make our streets a bit cleaner.

Now some fantastic news for Stow.  Stow College takes the health and wellbeing of its staff very seriously.  The college was one of the first organisations in Scotland to achieve the Healthy Working Lives Gold Award.  This success was followed by the achievement of the Mental Health Commendation Award which aims to raise awareness of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues while promoting positive mental and emotional wellbeing.  There are currently only 4 or 5 organisations in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area which hold both the Gold award and the Mental Health Commendation Award – and Stow was one of the first.  The College has held the Gold Award standard since 2001 and there are only a handful of organisations in the NHS Greater Glasgow area that have the HWL Gold Award and the Mental Health Commendation Award.

On 1 December the college was visited by Alex Connor and Kevin O’Neill as our three-year re-assessment was due on the Gold award.  Alex and Kevin met with Sam Stevenson, Gary Blair, Rita Glackin, Margaret Cairns and Ron Dillin to discuss the extensive portfolio we had submitted.  The portfolio contained details of the many awareness campaigns, interactive events, physical activities, training events and policies which the college has run in the last year.  Our assessors were happy to note that the college had done even more than was required in order to obtain the gold award and had, in many cases, not only met but surpassed the criteria for the award.

The college received confirmation this week that they had successfully retained the award.  In offering his congratulations, Kevin O’Neill commented on the hard work and enthusiasm of all the staff who are involved in the Healthy Working Lives committee and also those who assist in running events.  The award scheme is intended for staff, but of course our learners and the wider community benefit from the activities and events that are organised under the Healthy Working Lives banner.

The Stow team will now concentrate on updating the portfolio for the Mental Health Commendation award which is due for interim assessment in the spring and full re-assessment in July.  Assistant Principal Audrey Miller passed on hearty congratulations to Stow’s Healthy Working Lives team.

Next up, we have been told, by Linda Vaughan, of a new service that will be available very soon, starting with the Learning Centre.  In January 2012, we will firstly introduce our new PC booking system – MyPC – in the Learning Centre (room 3/14).  It will be also rolled out in the SuperFlex (room 3/11) soon after.  MyPC is a computer booking system which allows students to control their PC bookings and access to PCs in our centres.

What does MyPC mean for students?

  • Quick access – walk up PCs and screen will tell them how long they can access the PC for
  • No need to sign in at the desk
  • Internet booking –can book PCs in advance from home or in the class before coming to our centres
  • Students will have fair access to the PCs
  • It will encourage students manage their time better

How does MyPC work?

  • Access MyPC using a link on the Learning Gateway
  • Access MyPC using a link on Moodle
  • Access MyPC using a link on the College Website
  • Book 2 hours at a time
  • Bookings held for 10 minutes
  • Book up to 7 days in advance
  • Alerts to let students know their time is nearly up

If you would like any more information, then please contact Linda Vaughan.

A little bit of performing now.  Stephen Langston has been telling us about Stowaways latest venture.  The Stowaways will be performing a double feature – ‘Mr Kolpert’ by David Gieselmann and ‘Body of Water’ by Stuart Pursell.  This will run for 4 nights, from Tuesday 20th December until Friday 23rd December 2011, starting at 7.30 pm each night in the East Kilbride Arts Centre (Tel 01355 261000).  Tickets cost  £8.50 / £6.00 (Conc).  It should be a great performance so pop along and see it, but please be aware that ‘Mr Kolpert’ contains scenes of an adult nature.

We have some great news now from Chris Greenshields!  All students at Stow College can now order a totally free copy of the 2011/2012 Glasgow Student SNAPfax and collect it on campus.  If you are not familiar with SNAPfax it is a discount scheme for students, which secures discounts, which are bigger and better than those discounts, you can enjoy with just your Student ID.

To get your FREE SNAPfax you need to register and order online, using PROMO CODE: STOW, which will discount your order to nil (you need to choose the deal which corresponds to your campus).  When you hit order you will be sent an email with a voucher and a unique security code.  Print this voucher and swap it for a SNAPfax (The SNAPfax collection point for your campus is indicated online and on your voucher).  For a step by step guide on how to register and for a list of some of the discounts you can get, visit our News Feature on the college website.  Please let your classmates know about this new service.

Finally for this week an update on our Photography Competition.  We had some fantastic entries in our category 2 (Glasgow Buildings and People) and category 3 (Glasgow Greenery) sections and these have been uploaded to our Facebook page for voting.  However entries to category 1 (In and Around Stow) we very low and we decided to extend the closing date for this category until Monday the 19th of December.  So all you students out their if you want the chance to win a 3 course meal for 2 people at the Landsdowne Bar and Kitchen, take a picture of Stow or Stow West or the staff, fellow students, vending machines, classrooms, labs or your favourite seat – whatever you think is photogenic – and send them to Tracey Borland.  Also remember to visit our Facebook page and vote for your favourite Category 2 and Category 3  picture.

Well that’s us for now, see you all back here next week.