College Development Network (CDN) launched the Essential Skills Statement of Ambition at its conference, Essential skills for Education and Employment, on Friday 10 June.

The conference, which took place at New College Lanarkshire, is part of the work of CDN’s Essential Skills and Volunteering Network, a proactive group which has a focus on embedding skills across colleges in Scotland.

Acting Chief Executive of CDN, Candy Munro, said: ‘The work of CDN’s Essential Skills and Volunteering Network is focused on those skills that prepare individuals for employment.

‘This is why it set up a short life working group to explore how essential skills could be embedded across all colleges to encourage the development of skills as the responsibility of all lecturers, whatever their subject discipline. As a result, it began work on an Essential Skills Statement of Ambition and I am delighted that today sees the launch of this important document.’

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said: ‘Our regionally-based colleges, of significant scale and influence, are now delivering a broad range of subjects and qualifications more focused than ever on meeting local labour market demand. All college students should have the opportunity to develop the skills for learning, life and work – making them stand out in the competitive and ever changing jobs market.’

Martin McGuire, Principal and Chief Executive of New College Lanarkshire said: ‘New College Lanarkshire is pleased to welcome so many people committed to improving opportunities for students all over Scotland to our Coatbridge Campus.

‘The college is passionate about equipping our learners with the essential skills and knowledge needed to forge successful careers.

‘In sharing ideas with a variety of learning providers and employers at events such as this, we are building on our commitment to make our learning environment as relevant and responsive to the demands of the jobs market as possible.’

Commenting on the document, Rob Wallen, Principal of North East College Scotland and Chair of SCQF Partnership said: ‘On all college programmes the development of these “essential” or “core skills” is as important as developing the specific vocational skills of a given industry or employment. Equipping people with a strong set of transferable skills from the outset will help them to transition between different job roles over the course of their working life.

‘This statement of ambition is a welcome reinforcement of the role colleges must play in developing these skills.’

The Essential Skills for Education and Employment conference is part of the CDN Emporium: Inspiring Ideas, a two-week festival of thought provoking and practical conferences and workshops for college lecturers and school teachers.