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.


International Students and a Disability Symbol

Welcome back after your long weekend, we hope it has left you rested and raring to go.  This week’s blog is a relatively short one, due to the three day week, but we still have some news for you.

First this week is some good news from Kenny Muir.  Stow has very recently come to an agreement with a very reputable Agency in Pakistan, in collaboration with a former colleague, Gavin Macdonald, to establish a Regional Office in Pakistan. SCS has been a regular source of students to Stow for many years, and Gavin maintains a continuing interest in the region and is a frequent visitor.  We have been able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with SCS and Gavin to allow us to improve our ‘presence’ in Pakistan and, hopefully, the flow of good quality students who want to study at Stow.  Gavin has been representing us at a number of recent DAWN Expos and the outputs are beginning to arrive in the form of applications.  He sent us the photograph below from one such event.

Now a little bit of background and news on one of our International students.  Cherry Tsui Cheuk Hei is only 17 years old but has already set her sights on big things.  The teenager arrived a year ago in Scotland, alone and scared, she experienced a few initial problems, but thanks to our dedicated staff Cherry is now settled, enjoying Glasgow and succeeding in her studies.  Cherry is one of the brightest stars in her class and is hoping to study for a business degree at a Scottish university once she completes her HND at Stow College.  She then plans on returning to Hong Kong where she can put her business skills into practise.  We are all sure she will achieve her goals.

Next up …….. a healthy update.  This week saw the college hold it’s MOT Health days in both the City and Stow West campus’s.  Staff and students alike were involved in the activities set up to see how healthy they were.  This included tests such as Blood pressure test, Flexibility test, Lung capacity test, Body Mass Index(BMI) test and Body Fat content test.  Everyone involved found it extremely informative, we hope no one was too surprised or shocked at their test results.

Lastly for this week is news from Rita Glackin in Human Resources.  It has been confirmed that Stow College has been awarded the disability symbol employer status for a further 12 months.  The college provided proof that we were embracing the ethos of the symbol and that we are continuing to meet the criteria of the five commitments.  These commitments include interviewing all applicants with a disability that meet the minimum job criteria, ensuring  there is a mechanism in place for disabled employees to discuss developing and using their skills, to make sure newly disabled employees get the help to stay employed, to make sure all employees have a certain level of disability awareness and finally we have to review what we have done and plan for the future.

So that’s us for now, but we will be back here next Friday, see you then.

Another Ceilidh, A Graphic Installation and a Few Exams!!

Another week by and another blog update for you, so here we go …..

First for this week, some news from Kenny Muir.  On Thursday 2nd February, the College played host to a delegation of Lithuanian educationalists as part of a week-long study tour to investigate teacher training and continuous professional development. The programme was led by Audrey Miller, with a number of really useful and practical inputs from practitioners who know at first-hand how the College’s training processes can help.  Among the contributors were Lynn Gray and Margaret Cooke.  A very well-received programme concluded with an active and well-informed discussion.

Kenny has also let us know that February’s CMT was the occasion for the ‘official’ launch of our new international promotional video.  In-house director Fraser Purdie has produced a really excellent video which uses learner voices to promote the College’s many strengths and advantages in the international marketplace.  The video in its uncut version will get its international premier in Hong Kong at the end of February when we are out at the British Council education fair with UWS.  A shorter, punchier version may well be on YouTube and the College’s own website before that.  We look forward to your views on this initiative.

As you know we are continually trying to improve the service we offer students and more often thatn not this involves some staff training.  So, following the recent upgrade of our timetabling software Syllabus Plus, Several staff, mainly timetablers have attended a one day training session in January by Scientia, this will be followed up by another one day of training on 6th February.  It has also been approved by senior management that we can proceed to work with Scientia on improving the quality of data that is transferred from our Student Records system to Syllabus Plus which populates the timetables and in doing so will reduce the administrative workload for timetablers and ensure students records and details are always accurate and up to date.

Douglas Thomson has let us know about a fun night out some of our International students got involved in.  On Tuesday the 31st of January the Students for Independence Society (SFI) at the University of the West of Scotland held a Ceilidh.  It was a belated Burns Night Ceilidh and Stow College, as a partner in the Passport scheme with UWS, was asked along. 15 of our international students (and one of our domestic ones) went along for a fun night of traditional dance.  Some local dignitaries attended the evening and they feasted on a fayre of Scotch Pies and other Scottish culinary delights.  A great night was had by all – there are a few pictures below.

Finally for this week a couple of quick bits and pieces.  First Stow West had new graphics installed in the campus, they are bright and colourful and add a touch of class to the portacabins and entrance ways.  We’ve included a few pictures above so you can see – especially if you’re not at Stow West very often.

Also, on Monday the 6th of February there will be a charity tombola held for Make a Wish Foundation in the foyer of the Stow City building.  Make sure you stop by and take part and have the chance of getting an ‘Instant win!!!’.  There are great prizes, including cinema tickets, Lush gift sets, books and much more.  So support your fellow students and join in.

That’s us then for this week, but come again next Friday for some more stories and pictures.  Oh for all you poor studying students out there, here is a not of a few of the prelim exams on soon …………. Good Luck!!!

The prelim exam diet is as follows:

English                  Prelim Higher Tuesday 28 Feb

Gaelic                    Prelim Higher Wednesday 29 Feb

Maths                   Prelim Higher Thursday 01 March

Care                       Prelim Higher Monday 12 March

Psychology          Prelim Higher Wednesday 14 March