From education to employment

Scottish colleges provide critical pathways from poverty

Today, the College Development Network (CDN) Research and Enhancement Centre published ‘Pathways from Poverty – Colleges for Communities’. 

The report is the second study from the CDN Research and Enhancement Centre to examine the role of Scottish colleges in tackling poverty. In March 2022, the CDN Research and Enhancement Centre published jointly with Colleges Scotland evidence from a two-year national sector inquiry into the role of colleges in addressing the poverty crisis in Scotland.

Now, the latest report shows how the college sector is helping to shape national development and local delivery in tackling poverty, by responding to the Scottish Government’s Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan.

The report highlights specific ways in which colleges are uniquely placed to help combat poverty. Colleges bridge the gap between individuals, families and vital intervention services aimed at preventing and tackling complex societal issues.

They are leading the way in driving and facilitating direct actions and interventions which have positive impacts on aspects of socioeconomic disadvantage affecting learners and their communities.

With strong community learning and development links, and close interaction with local schools, charities and trusts, colleges are best placed to confront the multiple barriers faced by the communities they serve.

Jim Metcalfe, Chief Executive of CDN, said:

“Scotland’s colleges play a vital role in transforming people’s lives. They are the first port of call for many young people affected by poverty. Colleges are places of learning, but also institutions working directly with communities to overcome multiple challenges.

“The case studies highlighted in this report will serve as a benchmark for best practice in the college sector – these grass roots interventions provide a deeper understanding of the context and complexity of vulnerable learners, and the ways to develop sustainable pathways from poverty.

“We look forward to leading conversations with the college sector that will flow from this report to maximise the potential of all our students, and to drive change in Scotland’s economy.”

The findings of the report will be discussed and debated at the ‘Pathways from Poverty Symposium’ on Thursday 8 September.

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