A Highland college has received a prestigious award for the care and support it provides to young people from a “looked after background”.
Fort William-based West Highland College UHI – which is made up of 10 college centres throughout Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross – has been given the Buttle UK Quality Mark for the help it offers these students.
Buttle UK is a charity, which provides grants to some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the UK.
And, to achieve the award, the college had to meet a set of rigorous standards laid down by the charity.
The college’s, student services manager, Eleanor Brown, explained that it identified ways it could support looked after young people from the very first time they approached the college.
She said: “We want to give them the confidence to know that we understand the challenges they face and can help them settle into college life and go on to prepare for their future.
“We would urge anyone thinking of applying to the college, who is from a looked after background, to make sure they tell us this as soon as they get in touch so that we can give them the best support possible.”
West Highland College UHI principal and chief executive, Lydia Rohmer said: “This award demonstrates our determination to ensure that every single one of our students, no matter what their personal circumstance, receives the support they need.”
She added that the college was particularly pleased that one aspect of its application to Buttle UK – showing the process of identifying and supporting students – was highlighted as an example of best practice.
And the charity’s quality mark manager, Susan Mueller, said: “Buttle UK is delighted to be able to award the Quality Mark for Care Leavers to West Highland College UHI, recognising the commitment of the college to support care experienced students to progress to and achieve in further and higher education.”