As part of our increasing focus on Scotland, EMSI attended the Scotland’s Colleges: Meeting the Challenges of Regionalisation Conference, held in Edinburgh on October 10th.
A number of interesting speakers commented on the key challenges facing Scotland’s Colleges during this period of huge structural change – many of which are key to the work that we are successfully leading across the UK and worldwide.
Keynote speaker Michael Russell MSP stated how, through regionalisation, Scotland’s Colleges would be able to increasingly “speak as strategic regional bodies” and that in doing this they must “continue to focus on employability and economic growth“.
Earlier in the day, Mandy Exley (Principal, Edinburgh College) had outlined how Edinburgh College had gone through a merger process and now, as a single institution serving Edinburgh and the Lothians, was looking to ensure that the values of the College mirrored those of “the local population and their identity”. Mandy outlined how this meant that the College needed to be providing “needs led provision” – something which EMSI is very much in tune with, in terms of providing colleges with the key, localised LMI to enable them to identify and respond to changing and emerging local economic needs.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald (Principal, University of Strathclyde) urged Scottish Funding bodies to understand that investment in colleges and universities was “a safe bet” in terms of the return on investment that colleges and universities provide. This view was echoed by Mandy Exley who urged colleges to develop “social impact accounts”. Both of these views very much echo the evidence that EMSI Economic Impact Studies are providing.
The issue of college funding in the context of regionalisation was dealt with by Laurence Howells (Interim Chief Executive, Scottish Funding Council), who outlined how Outcome Agreements for each of the 13 Scottish regions would be the key documents to frame “how colleges should meet the economic and social needs of a region”. Laurence also announced that Outcome Agreements were moving to a three year cycle and that colleges had the power to influence the content of these regional documents “if local need dictates”.
This common focus on colleges meeting regional and local economic needs matches very much the aims of our Analyst, Career Coach and Economic Impact Study services. Indeed Michael Russell MSP talked of colleges providing “more relevant pathways” which is something that EMSIs current work is helping colleges to achieve and we are extremely excited about working with Scotland’s colleges in a similarly successful way.
For more information about Analyst, Career Coach, the Economic Impact Study or other EMSI products, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.