It was a successful evening for Scotland’s colleges at the annual Scottish Qualifications Authority Star Awards, which were hosted recently at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh by TV and radio presenter Kaye Adams.

The SQA Star Awards are unique, recognising both the individuals who work towards SQA qualifications and the organisations that deliver them; rewarding those that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to learning.

The SilverNote Music project at North East Scotland College won the SQA Star Award for Innovation. The project has enhanced the learning experience of students by offering them work experience in the local community. The project gives budding sound engineers, musicians, film-makers and photographers the opportunity to work together, and with industry experts, to create evidence for their course work and assessments.

Students who have shown dedication to their community, as well as their studies, also featured at the awards. Whilst progressing from a National Certificate to a Higher National Diploma at Ayrshire College, James O’Neill has shared his coaching skills with his local community, through providing over 5,000 hours of volunteering work. He was rewarded by being named College Candidate of the Year, which was sponsored by College Development Network.

Fellow Ayrshire College student Kayleigh Haggo was Highly Commended in the College Candidate of the Year category, as was Danielle Stewart, a student at West Highland College UHI. Another West Highland College student honoured at the awards was William Grant, who was Highly Commended in the Training Organisation Candidate of the Year category.

Highly Commended in the Innovation category was Glasgow Kelvin College’s ‘Kit Car’ project, as was the ‘Me2u’ project at Ayrshire College.

Glasgow Clyde College claimed the SQA Star Award for Promoting Inclusion, rewarded for their success in promoting an inclusive ethos across all their city campuses. With improving the student experience as their goal, the college has embraced technology as a tool for creating a positive learning environment.

Also recognised in the Promoting Inclusion category was Dundee & Angus College, who were Highly Commended for their innovative Film Festival. There was further success for the college when staff member Sarah Ramminger was Highly Commended in the SQA Champion category.

Rounding off college success at the awards was Forth Valley College, whose work with Police Scotland and local schools saw them Highly Commended in the Partnership of the Year category.

SQA Chief Executive, Dr Janet Brown, said: “I have been overwhelmed by the dedication of our winners and have been privileged to hear moving stories of learning journeys. Our winners are an inspiration to us all!”

Deputy First Minister, and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP, congratulated all the winners. Mr Swinney, said: “These awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the hard work and achievement of people across Scotland, and of our education and training providers. I would like to congratulate all the winners and wish them every success for the future.”

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