East Lothian Council

Council scoops Gold CoSLA Award

Published Friday 13th March 15

Three pupils with cooking utensils

Educational initiative wins innovation and improvement award

East Lothian Council won the top Gold Award category for Service Innovation and Improvement for the East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy at the CoSLA excellence awards 2015 held last night (Thursday 12 March).

The Hospitality and Tourism Academy started in 2012 with the aim of providing academic qualifications and experience to enable young people to benefit from a positive destination, as well as smoothing the transition between school, college, university and work and raising standards within the industry.

What started as a trial project with three East Lothian secondary schools has now grown into a unique and highly successful partnership involving Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh College, Borders College, four local authorities and industry partners. This model has allowed further expansion of this innovative idea.

The South East Scotland Academies Project now offers four academies for young people. The more recent additions are academies for the Creative Industries, Food Science and Nutrition, and Health and Social Care. The academies provide young people with a real insight into key growth industries and improves their employability by developing specialist skills and knowledge.

East Lothian Council, Chief Executive, Angela Leitch said:

“This award recognises a strong partnership initiative which offers increased opportunities for young people. The Academies allow school students to focus on specific vocational subjects as the first steps on a career path in areas where we know skills are at a premium nationwide.  From relatively modest beginnings this initiative has expanded tremendously over the past two years and we are currently working towards the creation of our next Academy, in Construction Skills, and are encouraged by the strong positive feedback not only from the students themselves but also from our academic and business partners.”

In a recent submission to the Scottish Government’s Education and Culture Committee research from Queen Margaret University identified the benefits young people received from attending an academy:

It develops young people:

·       who are better informed about their own futures and have an insight into specific industries

·       who have acquired relevant skills, knowledge and the right attitude to contribute positively to the growth and development of key industries in Scotland.

·       who have relevant qualifications and industry experience to continue in education or enter the jobs market , and can choose to move seamlessly, at different stages in their lives, between education and career.

·       who benefit from accelerated learning opportunities and the acquisition of transferable skills

·       who are acutely aware of opportunities within Scotland’s growth industries and who are developing an understanding off, and a passion for, these key areas.

Professor Alan Gilloran, Deputy Principal at Queen Margaret University, said:

“This award is extremely well deserved by East Lothian Council. There was a determination by the education leaders, school heads and teachers to take a chance and make this new collaboration work for the benefit of East Lothian’s young people.

“Recognition must also go to Professor Don Ledingham, former Executive Director of Education and Social Work for East Lothian Council, who was one of the visionaries for the academy model. He worked tirelessly with Queen Margaret University and Edinburgh College to create a model that had the potential to not only improve the lives of local children, but to develop a successful partnership model which could be rolled out across Scotland. Thanks to education professionals across the council, QMU and Edinburgh College, the academies have grown and flourished and we look forward to following the learner journey of our first Academy graduates as they develop their educational opportunities at college or university, and to seeing their contribution to Scotland’s key industries as they enter the world of work.”

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