PoVE Water project: Interview to David Innes & Nicola Murray from Glasgow Clyde College
PoVE Water is a transnational project that draws on existing and emerging vocational competences and skills needs in the water sector, translating them into a approach of vocational excellence. The PoVE Water Excellence project brings together VET institutions, the water industry, research centres, Higher Education governmental institution and water sector representatives from the Netherlands, Malta, Latvia, Scotland, Czech Republic, and Belgium. These partners share a common interest in developing the full potential of VET institutions to play a proactive role in support of growth, competitiveness and innovation of the water sector.
In the framework of the project, we interviewed David Innes & Nicola Murray from Glasgow Clyde College.
We are David Innes and Nicola Murray from Glasgow Clyde College. Our college is based in Glasgow and we are the sole training provider of the HNC Water Operations in Scotland working closely with our main stakeholder Scottish Water. Our work package is designed to prepare the knowledge sharing process.
- How you identify Vocational Excellence Scanning in the water sector with partners?
The vocational excellence scan has allowed Glasgow Clyde to position itself alongside its partners to ensure the training and education is meeting the requirements of each stakeholder both in terms of current and future provision. By working with our European partners, we have been able to share expert knowledge and gain a wider understanding of each other’s challenges within the industry.
- What are the points of excellence?
Scotland has a main Water Undertaker – Scottish Water. This means they can provide focus and management of the industry for most of the country.
Scottish Water works closely with Industry and with Education (Glasgow Clyde College being one of those educators) providing excellence in.
Waste Water Management
We have fabulous resources in Scotland that allow us to take our students to our National Parks and teach catchment management we can go to Scottish Water sites and see how these areas are run – a day in the life.
- How do you see the VET education and VET students on top of the developments in the water industry?
We see that by working collaboratively we can share developments including technical advances. This itself can be achieved through, knowledge sharing, site visits, guest lectures and the use and demonstration of new technologies such as, using drones to support the inspection of water plants. The sharing of new advances and techniques across each European partner allows for the industry standards to improve, which has a positive impact on improving the water industry and the knowledge of students.
- How VET colleges/institution support regional development and smart specialisation strategies in your countries?
We are able to work closely with industry to provide qualifications that suit business needs. We work closely with the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) to develop qualifications that are accessible and current at various levels.
During lock down we were asked by Scottish water to develop an online course for students to keep them busy whilst working from home. We will only be able to provide a college certificate however it will be more productive for the students whilst at home.
- How have you experienced the lockdown during the project meetings?
Lock down has had a huge impact on consistent engagement from our triple helix partners. We have struggled to engage industry as most people are working with a reduction in staff and cannot give time to projects like ours just now as a result.
We have had students drop out as they are not enjoying the online experience, they had looked forward to coming to college. At this time we cannot have on site visits which provide an excellent support to a theory session allowing the student to see things in action builds on understanding creating a better foundation for learning.
- What lessons can be learned from the lockdown?
That we have to be flexible and offer courses that provide the ability to work long distance and submit project work instead of in college assessments. More investment is required in the use of digital technologies.