Simply the best! Students’ union scoops top award

Posted on 05/07/2014 by

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Edinburgh College Students’ Association is best in UK

NUS 2Edinburgh College Students’ Association (ECSA) has won the Further Education Students’ Union of the Year Award 2014, beating off competition from across the UK.

Up against some of the best students’ unions and associations across the country, ECSA came out on top in the National Union of Students (NUS) annual awards. It was the only Scottish college students’ association to be nominated in any category at the awards.

ECSA trumped category rivals from English and Welsh counterparts, including Sheffield College Students’ Union, South Eastern Regional College Students’ Union, Burton and South Derbyshire College Students’ Union and Coleg Gwent in Wales.

Kelly Parry, ECSA president for 2013/14, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to win the NUS FE Students’ Union of the Year Award. It’s a huge credit to the work ethic, dedication and enthusiasm of everyone involved in making ECSA a success – students, student officers and staff – and it’s proof that college students’ associations can make a real and positive difference to the lives of thousands of students.

“Over the last year, Edinburgh College Students’ Association and Edinburgh College have been doing some fantastic work to empower students to give them the best possible learning experiences. Winning this award has been a brilliant note to end on as president and I’m very confident that the new president and student officers will be able to build on our successes in the next coming year.”

ECSA provides a strong and independent voice for students at the college, which has 26,000 student enrolments, and works closely with the college to ensure that all students have a life-changing educational experience.

The judging panel from the NUS – which recognises students and students’ unions who do incredible things for their colleges and universities – was impressed with several of the association’s initiatives. The judges were particularly impressed with ECSA’s efforts to ensure that the college is reaching, representing and supporting under-represented groups. For example, ECSA was praised for its support of students from care backgrounds, with an event to showcase the hard work and determination of young people in and leaving care and the great challenges they face.

ECSA was also recognised for successfully lobbying the Scottish Parliament on behalf of the student body. One of ECSA’s major achievements was getting MSP Kezia Dugdale to raise the question of discrepancies of further education childcare funding in the Scottish Parliament, ensuring that student support and funding is at the forefront of the political agenda. The ECSA president also met with MSP Mike Russell, cabinet secretary for education and lifelong learning, to discuss this issue, and he subsequently committed to reviewing childcare funding for students.

The NUS FE Students’ Union of the Year award follows a recent partnership agreement with Edinburgh College, giving ECSA more influence over the college’s strategic direction. The partnership agreement – which strengthens ECSA’s ability to develop and meet students’ needs – breaks new ground for the further education sector in Scotland. Under the new agreement, ECSA will have a stronger voice at all decision-making levels of the college.

Pictured: Raphael Lehmann (ECSA Vice President Welfare and Activities) and Graham Smith (Student Liaison Officer).

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