New Sports Scheme for Scotland Colleges

scottish sport
  • Scotland’s Sports Minister launches initiative to promote sport and physical activity amongst college students
  • Students will have opportunity to participate in sport on Wednesday afternoons

The Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn, has helped to launch a new competitive sports programme being offered to students of Scotland’s colleges.

The initiative, which has in-principle support from 13* of Scotland’s colleges, aims to promote physical activity and sport among students, providing them with the opportunity to participate in sporting activity and cross-college competitions on Wednesday afternoons.

The project is coordinated and supported by Scottish Student Sport, which works with colleges and universities to foster, promote and develop student sport and physical activity.

Initially five sports will be involved – football, badminton, basketball, rugby and volleyball, with some teams having already started to compete.  There are also plans to extend to include other sports as the project progresses. It is hoped that students’ associations will support students who are interested in setting up their own sports club in a different discipline.

It is hoped that the move will:

  • Enhance the student experience
  • Help to boost the fitness levels of students
  • Encourage students’ social interaction with peers at their own college and others
  • Encourage personal discipline and a range of other skills transferable to life and work
  • Improve mental health and wellbeing
  • Encourage students to develop a healthy work life balance
  • Ultimately make students’ time at college richer and more satisfying

Many colleges have committed to making extra provision for the increase in sporting activity, such as increasing the availability of sports facilities for team training sessions, providing extra support for staff involved in the administration of student sport, and supporting teaching staff to rearrange timetables to accommodate Wednesday afternoon activities.

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said: “It’s great to see Scotland’s colleges looking to encourage sports participation among their students. Many people get out of the habit of taking part in physical activity when they leave school, so anything that encourages them to keep this going has to be welcomed. There are also some great personal benefits to taking part in sport that will have a positive effect on the students’ studies and wellbeing.”

The project lead, Ray McCowan, vice principal for education leadership at Edinburgh College, said: “The programme will embed active lifestyles into college student life the way it has always been in universities. It is a great leap forward in how colleges support students and we hope it will encourage more of them to participate and gain from the many advantages of an active lifestyle.

“It’s a long-term project. The vision is that in years to come there will be a thriving and sustainable sporting culture between colleges. As well as the personal benefits to students such as becoming healthier and being part of a team, this should bring the further education community closer together in the spirit of sporting competition.”

Stew Fowlie, C.O.O. of Scottish Student Sport, said: “We hope that activities on Wednesday afternoons will become a central part of the culture across Scotland’s college regions.

Not only will the initiative provide students with an opportunity to explore new activities but it will also help them to make friends, pursue healthy lifestyles and enjoy a positive student experience. Above all, the aim is to make the sporting afternoons fun. We hope that students are encouraged to get involved!”

Scotland’s colleges already have a good sporting pedigree, with many high-performing athletes coming through further education, including a number of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games competitors, such as Edinburgh College’s Sally Conway who won a bronze medal in Judo and Reece McFadden from North College Lanarkshire, a third-year joinery apprentice who a bronze medal in the Boxing flyweight competition at the Games.

The new scheme will formalise support for students to participate in sport and physical activity whatever their level of performance.

The sports sessions are optional and those not interested in sport will be supported to take part in other extra-curricular activities of their choice that will also add to a positive student experience.

*The 13 colleges already signed-up to the sports programme are:

1.       Ayrshire College

2.       City of Glasgow College

3.       Dundee and Angus College

4.       Edinburgh College

5.       Fife College

6.       Forth Valley College

7.       Glasgow Clyde College

8.       Glasgow Kelvin College

9.       Inverness College

10.   New College Lanarkshire

11.   North East Scotland College

12.   West College Scotland

13.   West Lothian College

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