UHI Inverness shortlisted for Inclusive College Award

UHI Inverness has been shortlisted for the Inclusive College Award at this year’s CDN (College Development Network) Awards.

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Vice Principal Lindsay Snodgrass - we're proud of what our students have achieved

The award shortlisting recognises the LEEP (Life, Education, Employment and Personal Development) Ahead programme, which supports care experienced young people to re-engage in learning and employment.  


Care experienced young people often face additional challenges which can result in disruption to their education or gaps in learning, knowledge, and development.


The programme aims to address these by providing care experienced young people with the tools and skills to support them to progress positively, whether that’s onto to college or university, or an apprenticeship programme, training or employment.


The 18-week LEEP Ahead programme is run by UHI Inverness in partnership with Highland Council. It ran as a pilot in January 2022 and saw 13 students take part, with 90 per cent of those progressing onto positive destinations. 


Louise Martin Theyers, Access and Progression Manager at UHI Inverness, said: “The LEEP Ahead programme has had a significant impact on the lives of the students who completed the programme, with all of them going on to further study with UHI Inverness – either through full-time programmes or apprenticeships with local employers. The students grew in confidence and purpose as they learned to work as a team and develop new skills through a wide range of new experiences. We are delighted to have had such a positive start to the project, but most importantly we are thrilled to have been able to support care experienced young people to return to education.” 


One student, who did not want to be named, said: “I feel so proud of myself on this course. My school said I have special needs, but I feel really confident about my reading and writing now. I have started a full-time course now and want to work with people who struggled like me.” 


Another student said: “I was told that I could never go to college, but now my life has changed. I want to become a joiner and I’ve got a place on a joinery apprenticeship.” 


Lindsay Snodgrass, Vice Principal - Student Experience and Quality, added: “The LEEP Ahead programme forms part of our widening access agenda and is just one of several projects we’re involved with to help different groups of people re-connect with learning. I would like to personally congratulate every single student who completed this programme. We are incredibly proud of what they have achieved and will be here to support them as they continue to develop and grow through their continued studies.” 


The LEEP Ahead programme will run again in January 2023. Care experienced young people can visit www.inverness.uhi.ac.uk/courses for more information or speak to their social worker for support. 


The CDN Awards recognise the talent, innovation and achievement demonstrated by Scottish colleges, their staff, and their learners. 


The winners of the CDN Awards will be announced at a celebration ceremony at the Raddison Blu, Glasgow, on Friday 25 November.