The Barony Campus of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is celebrating after winning two prestigious national training awards.

The double win came in the Scottish Training Federation (STF) Annual Awards 2016 – recognised as the sector’s ‘Oscars’ for Scotland.

SRUC won in the two categories it was shortlisted for – the Innovation in Training and the Most Innovative and Creative Employability Provider of the Year awards.

In the Innovation in Training category SRUC received plaudits for creating an online learning platform to help equine students with their horse care studies at sister Oatridge Campus in West Lothian. This replaced a complex paper-based assessment and appeals to the students because it is interactive and provides peer review and support via text and downloads.

Introducing the project has resulted in a 27% rise in A-grades for the practical element of the HNC Equine Studies course.

Jackie Irving, Animal Care Programme Team Leader at Barony, said: “Although all this information was previously available as paper guidance – the fact it is now online has helped with successful student achievement.

“The new approach is a valuable experience for both groups of students and develops student confidence and self-reflection.”

In the Most Innovative and Creative Employability Provider of the Year category SRUC Barony impressed the judges with the introduction of an authentic learning programme – using the same on-line platform – providing Arboriculture students with real-life work experience in tree and woodland management.

The Practical Contract Management project allows students to record digital evidence – such as drone and GoPro video footage.

This initiative has attracted interest from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) with a view to it being rolled out across Scotland.

Andrew Treadaway, Forestry and Arboriculture Lecturer, said: “This project has really engaged our students – using innovative and creative digital ways to give them relevant skills which developed and built their professional skills suitable for running a commercial business.”

Ali Hastie, Barony Campus e-Learning Developer, said: “We are all delighted that these challenging and exciting projects have won these prestigious national awards.

“This is recognition of the projects teams’ hard work, dedication and passion to improve the teaching, and the learning experience for our students.

“The judges told us afterwards that our two entries had literally blown them away and stood out from other nominations.”

The STF awards celebrate the best in work based training. The organisation represents over 130 providers across Scotland – including many colleges – and is recognised as the “voice of training providers” in the country. There were 90 entries covering 10 categories.

The winners were announced at the STF annual awards held at Crieff Hydro on 27 September, 2016 – hosted by BBC Scotland weather presenter Judith Ralston.

Photo caption: The SRUC Barony team at the Scottish Training Federation Awards – left to right: Shona Warwick, Student Recruitment Officer; Andrew Treadaway, Forestry and Arboriculture Lecturer; BBC Scotland’s Judith Ralston; Ali Hastie, Barony Campus e-Learning Developer; and Jackie Irving, Animal

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