From education to employment

Virtual reality dementia programme among winners at College Awards


Radio presenter Edith Bowman was also inducted into the Colleges’ Hall of Fame during the awards ceremony

A ground-breaking programme that uses virtual reality (VR) to give students an insight into living with dementia was among the winners at this year’s College Development Network (CDN) College Awards.

Edinburgh College worked with visual communications agency Cadpeople to develop the programme, which helps students on health and social care courses to understand what it feels like to live with dementia.

Students who have used the technology can then apply their insights to help them take better care of people living with dementia.

Edinburgh College won the Digital Learning Award for its VR dementia programme at Friday night’s CDN College Awards, which this year attracted a record 160 entries.

Jim Metcalfe, Chief Executive of CDN, said:

“Edinburgh College’s innovative VR dementia programme is a great example of how Scotland’s colleges are building connections with employers to give students the skills and experience they need to get them ready for work.

“Working closely with industry means colleges can respond to needs in their local and regional jobs markets, equipping students with the knowledge and understanding that’s required for them to make a difference in a role from day one.

“In the midst of the cost-of-living crisis, Scotland’s colleges are continuing to make a difference to the lives of their students, helping many of them to turn their lives around and lift themselves out of poverty through education and training.

“Those benefits are being felt throughout society and industry more widely, with colleges, their staff, and students being inclusive, supportive, adaptive, reactive, and responsive when it comes to local needs.”

City of Glasgow College carried off the top prize on the night – the Judges’ Award – for turning its Riverside Campus into an international maritime hub during last year’s COP26 climate change conference, hosting exhibitions, meetings, and other events for key figures from the United Nations, politics, and industry.

Each of the award-winning projects can be scaled-up or transferred to other colleges, creating opportunities for Scotland’s colleges to learn from each other.

Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister of Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training delivered the keynote speech. He said:

“It’s essential that we take a step back and acknowledge all the hard work that goes on in the college sector. I’m proud to see how colleges have reacted to meeting the challenges of recent years and how they continue to show flexibility to deal with those that still lie ahead.

 “We only need to look at those shortlisted to see the successes of the sector in developing the talent that will enable Scotland to meet the demands of rebuilding the economy and future challenges.

 “All the shortlisted colleges should be proud of their achievements. Successes that are only made possible by the hard work and dedication you’ve shown through the past year.”

As well as presenting 13 prizes, the awards ceremony also included radio presenter Edith Bowman being inducted into the CDN Colleges’ Hall of Fame.

Bowman graduated with a higher national diploma in communications studies from Fife College and has gone on to work with broadcasters including the BBC, MTV, and Sky.

She said: “Thank you for inducting me into the CDN Hall of Fame – I am very grateful and touched.

“The communication studies course I was enrolled in at Fife College really helped me on my journey; it provided me with a wonderful foundation to build on.”

Related Articles