Adding Value for Members - Working in Collaboration with West Lothian College

WLC campusRecently students at West Lothian College may have thought there were some new hires, considering how often Quality Scotland staff were on campus the previous week! Head of Business Development Ann Pike and Awards Manager Catriona McDougall have been working with West Lothian College to help support and provide opportunities for their students.

While Catriona gave some event management students the inside scoop on what it takes to organise the Scottish Awards for Business Excellence – covering all their course outcomes in the process! – Ann Pike was invited to present to a range of local employers about Quality Scotland’s experience of engaging with the college to offer effective student placements. The aim of the event was to help employers see the benefits and possibilities having a student on placement could generate and to encourage more local businesses to create student placements. In 2017 Quality Scotland welcomed two West Lothian College students on placements focused on marketing and the Scottish Awards for Business Excellence and Ann presented on how we ensured the placements had successful outcomes for the students, QS, and West Lothian College. The key factors that contributed to a successful placement were;

  • Integrating the students so they feel part of the team – we included the students on our social media app Totem, so they could be included on news shared within the team and so they could earn ‘Kudos’ for their work.
  • Students are provided with training to enable them to spread the word about us and what we do to achieve excellence – we offer all students who accept placement with us the opportunity to become an accredited Assessor and take up any other QS training course they feel would be beneficial.
  • Students are engaged in all our normal activities e.g. monthly team meetings, network meetings, shadow C2E validations
  • Students are trusted to work with our members – handling enquiries, bookings, and phone calls.
  • Students are given access to our internal data systems, which also provides them working experience of a CRM system used by many organisations. 
  • Students are involved in specific pieces of work that enables them to gain experience relevant to their personal career goals or course outcomes and achieve measurable success.

Looking ahead, Quality Scotland is working with West Lothian College to create a rolling student placement programme that will help support students’ theoretical studies with work experience at QS; help the college develop the student placement programme further with other organisations; and explore opportunities to attract students to take up positions on Boards of organisations to gain valuable skills and add a more diverse Board perspective to local businesses.

Finally, we would like to make a special mention of the warm reception provided by the students of West Lothian College. It was a pleasure to guest lecture and meet you all – hopefully we’ll have some of you joining us in the QS office next year! 

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