From education to employment

First Minister Addresses ASCS Annual Conference

The Association of Scotland’s Colleges (ASC) today welcomed The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond MSP, as keynote speaker at its annual conference in St Andrews. The First Minister’s visit marks the first time a First Minister or Secretary of State has addressed an ASC conference.

The First Minister addressed an audience of Governors, Chief Executives and senior management from across Scotland’s Colleges. The theme of this year’s conference explored the public value of colleges in delivering lifelong learning opportunities to the people of Scotland.

Academics, broadcasters and business representatives including Atholl Duncan, Head of News and Current Affairs at BBC Scotland, and Professor John Benington from the Warwick Institute of Governance and Public Management, also highlighted different elements of creating value for Scotland.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “This conference is a great opportunity to celebrate the contribution Scotland’s Colleges make to individuals, communities and employers across the country. It also gives us a chance to appreciate the value of our education system to our economic ambitions. By coming together to develop our understanding of the value of colleges, I’m confident we can help to develop Scotland as a seat of learning, with talent on tap and growing prosperity.”

Howard McKenzie, Acting Chief Executive of the ASC, said: “We are delighted to welcome the First Minister as keynote speaker at our annual conference. His presence demonstrates the strong support that Scotland’s Colleges have from Government and shows the extent to which the sector is recognised as playing a valuable role in the development of Scotland’s economy.”

“We look forward to a bright future for Scotland’s Colleges as we continue to stem the nation’s skills shortage and become truly world-leading.”

Sue Pinder, Convenor of the ASC’s Principal’s Forum, said: “Having the First Minister address our annual conference shows the Government’s commitment to Scotland’s Colleges; this was also evident recently after the Government took the first steps to resolving the issue of charitable status.

“This year’s conference has allowed us to demonstrate the true value of Scotland’s Colleges to the economy and the skills agenda and it is a positive step that this is being acknowledged at Government level.”


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