The first students to undertake innovative integrated degrees offered by Forth Valley College and the University of Stirling have marked a major milestone as they progress to the 3rd year of their programme at university.
The integrated degree programme partnership was launched in August 2013 when students enrolled on the new BA (Hons) in Heritage and Conservation and BSc (Hons) in Applied Biological Sciences. Both courses are linked to key growth areas for Scotland, offering increased employment opportunities in the future.
Students spent their first two years studying at Forth Valley College campuses at Falkirk or Stirling and they have now moved their studies to the University of Stirling.
BSc (Hons) Applied Biological Sciences student Luke Binnie, 21, from Coalsnaughton, said: "I have really enjoyed my last two years at Forth Valley College where the practical work and time with lecturers has definitely prepared us for moving to university. It might take a wee while to get used to things, but I think we are ready to go."
Lisa O'Donnell, 26, from Grangemouth, also a BSc (Hons) Applied Biological Sciences student said: "The last two years have gone in quickly and I am looking forward to the challenge at university. I certainly think that the lab work experience we have had at Forth Valley College gives us a bit of an advantage over other biology students. I would definitely encourage potential biology students to have a look at this course as there is much more interaction with lecturers at college, before progressing on to university."
Philippe Maron (47) is originally from France, where he studied Archaeology and History at the Sorbonne. The BA (Hons) in Heritage and Conservation student, who now stays in Cowie, said: "After two years at Forth Valley College gaining knowledge on the touristic, economic and cultural side of Heritage, it is extremely exciting to start our third year at the University of Stirling. While it is a big transition, the very helpful lecturers and university staff are making it easier for us, and I look forward to going further in this degree."
Dr Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College, said: "The integrated degree partnership between Forth Valley College and the University of Stirling has been very successful and it is great to see the first cohort of students who started the degree courses move on to the University of Stirling to complete their studies.
"These programmes are Making Learning Work as they are designed to meet the needs of key industry sectors for Scotland – Life Sciences and Tourism. The practical skills the students have learned over the last two years will stand them in good stead to go on and achieve their full degree at university. They will then be equipped with practical skills and graduate qualifications – something our industry partners particularly desire."
Dr Tim Whalley, Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Stirling, said: "We are delighted to welcome the first cohort of students who have already benefited from gaining a wide range of applied skills at Forth Valley College, and we look forward to supporting them as they progress in their degree studies.
"On the back of initial success we have doubled the number of integrated degree programmes available, with new opportunities to study Applied Computing and Digital Media. This partnership showcases the best of university and college collaboration."
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The integrated degree programmes offered by Forth Valley College and the University of Stirling are: BA (Hons) Heritage and Conservation; BSc (Hons) in Applied Biological Sciences; BSc (Hons) Applied Computing; BA (Hons) Digital Media.