To: The Principal, Board of Management, Senior Management Team, Minister for FE Scotland, Scottish First Minister
James Watt College Greenock
James Watt College needs us now more than ever.
The name "James Watt" has been synonymous with the college in Greenock for over 100 years. We demand the name is returned and we demand a more meaningful future for OUR college in Greenock.
The 25th of August 2019 is the bicentenary of the death of James Watt; his life is quite rightly being celebrated in Scotland and across the world. We want to see the JAMES WATT name in big letters across the college building in his town of birth Greenock, for years to come.
James Watt College in Greenock celebrated its centenary, then shortly after, merged with Reid Kerr College in Paisley and Clydebank College. Since merger, the college in Greenock has been reduced from one of the largest in Scotland to the smallest campus within a regional merger.
Please help us ...Save The Name, Save The College - James Watt College.
College provision in Greenock has reduced since merger to what the majority of lecturers state is between 60 and 70 percent cuts to lecturer numbers, student numbers and the amount of courses run in Greenock. It is a bleak picture painted by lecturers and prospective students within our community.
Staff at the college in Greenock refer to Paisley as being "the mothership" and the number of students forced to travel from Inverclyde up the road to Paisley massively increase whilst Greenock downsizes by huge quantities, meaning many single parents, carers, young people and other prospective students are unable to travel and miss out on their opportunity of college education.
Paisley deserves a vibrant, established and premier college facilities, so does Greenock deserves the same. We must support the college in Greenock, sign up to courses (the courses that still exist and ask for other courses to run in Greenock), we must support the college in Greenock ... OUR college in Greenock.
Senior Management at the college talk of a new build at the East India Dock in Greenock but Inverclyde Council land development plan does not view this possibility, at least for the next 10 years, whilst the building falls into greater disrepair and the possibility of Paisley being the benefactor for students, upgrading of estate, a future for experienced lecturers transferring away from Greenock. The current estate could be upgraded and secured for the next few decades at least, we must have something tangible that is achievable - lecturers in Greenock view senior management plans as having something worrying hidden, we need a believable plan that offers hope with a more positive future for staff.
The negativity associated with the college in Greenock must be changed to a more positive future, starting now. Let's have success with our campaign, let's have success for our communities, let's have success for our college.
Greenock has seen many services in recent years centralised in Paisley, jobs and people moving away and the local communities continue to suffer. We want to see a strong college in Greenock. Our local communities in Inverclyde, west Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire, the Cowal Peninsula and surrounding areas to which the college in Greenock serves require a return of courses, a boost to the area and as part of a positive campaign we have 10 demands that would greatly assist with the future of the college provision in Greenock:
1. Return of the name James Watt and much more autonomy for Greenock college provision.
2. Securing of funds to fully modernise the current estates for a long-term future.
3. Greenock telephone number and separate Greenock details for use within advertisements.
4. Greater Inverclyde influence on the College Board of Management.
5. Improved marketing for Greenock courses and Greenock Only advertising.
6. Changes to student application system for easier access by lecturing staff.
7. Independent review of the dire Greenock college statistics.
8. Return of community classes run in Greenock local communities.
9. Return Distance Learning to Greenock.
10. Boost commercial activity based in Greenock.
All the above could boost staff morale, boost Inverclyde and reduce the negative feeling within our local communities. It would be positive moves and hopefully introduce a more positive outlook for Inverclyde. Each purpose listed under the items we seek is positive, we only want to see positive outcomes and want to see our college be successful … locally. Inverclyde needs a strong college presence and plenty of course activity here in Greenock.
This document is part of a positive campaign by local communities depending upon OUR college.
SAVE OUR COLLEGE - GREENOCK
Why is this important?
- Local communities continue to associate college with “James Watt College”
- Historical link to local communities
- The need to have decisions made in Greenock for the local communities
- Have a local management responsible for the college in Greenock
- Pride within the community in the name James Watt
- Synonymous with learning, development, innovation
- Coincide with bicentenary celebrations
- James Watt College for over 100 years to which the local community has an affinity
- A more powerful marketing / brand name for our local areas, poignant brand
- Staff and students would like to see the name James Watt associated with college
- Finnart Street Campus has been recognised as an iconic local building
- Car park, local parking available and ideal for public transport
- Buildings must be repaired and made water-tight to avoid further infrastructure damage
- Ensure the Greenock Campuses definitely secure a long-term outlook
- Provides a good sized campus and the aim should be to fill with students once again
- Plans already drawn-up for a wrap around for modernisation for years to come
- Enhanced cost effective option as opposed to a smaller East India Docks option
- East India Docks option would cause problems for car parking, unknown size / scale
- Inverclyde Council Local Development Plan clearly ends thoughts of East India Dock
- Funding over a period of years instead of up-front could be more inviting for government
- Modernise buildings over a period of time, including use of developing technological advancements
- Current size indicates ambitions for the area as opposed to negative alternative
- Most likely to be realised compared to a new build
- Major boost for Inverclyde and demonstrate a marker in reversing negative news
- Reduction of doubt as to where students are applying
- Separate web page and social media pages for Greenock with links to other campuses
- Identification of local Greenock campus, talking to local Greenock staff
- Avoid searching on Google for West College Scotland only to view the Paisley number
- Circumvention of further centralisation
- Prospective students knowing they are telephoning Greenock and not Paisley
- Provide the board with direction from local community representatives
- Increase Inverclyde presence on the Board of Management
- Pro-rata importance and recognition for Inverclyde
- More involvement with colleges decisions by local community representatives
- Greenock to have more autonomy / local Principal for decisions affecting local college provision
- Ensure local communities are more aware of courses running in Greenock
- Advertisements showing Greenock only courses with a footnote of other campuses
- Marketing to include additional advertising and broadcasting of courses for Greenock
- Specific offering for Greenock and directed to local communities
- No exclusion of courses and improve visibility via newspaper, media, boards
- Try advertising for new courses to ascertain interest
- Ask the community for ideas for their courses
- Closer monitoring by academic departments from the first point of student contact
- A return to greater academic department involvement with the whole process
- Ability for all lecturers to view and monitor a transparent student application system
- Lecturers to act timeously with administrative staff to follow leads
- Ascertain reasons for massive decrease/downsizing in student numbers in Greenock
- Investigate ways forward to return Greenock numbers to near-historic numbers
- Independent review to provide a full report with all data pertaining to Greenock
- Consider pre-merger and merger activity to determine what has happened
- Fully independent advice as to future with guidance for all aspects of college activity
- Reverse the recent cuts to community education provided by the college
- Highlight community education similar to Clydebank and Paisley
- Provide a pathway to college education for the less confident student
- Marketing within the community for the community
- Links to learning centres and libraries, allowing greater community involvement
- Improve education for all, irrespective of gender and age
- Accessible for local people without the need to travel
- Extends the college reach and for the community to emotively feel part of college life
- Build courses leading to employment and local interaction
- Include business reach and commercial activity
- Reverse the cut to open learning activity in Greenock
- Provides lecturer hours and administrative work in Greenock
- Fair and responsible to the Inverclyde area
- Demonstrates Greenock really does mean something to the Senior Management Team
- Increase accessibility to staff for local people requiring Distance Learning
- Avoid centralisation of commercial activity and return a base in Greenock
- Improve commercial activity for Inverclyde area
- Increase links to local businesses and encourage local investment
- Local businesses to deal with local people and local college estate
- Demonstrates a commitment to Inverclyde and surrounding areas
- Expands college reach back to traditional areas outside of Inverclyde
- Local courses to be taken to local businesses