South Lanarkshire College won two prestigious College Development Network Awards (CDN). The College was thrilled to secure victories in both of the categories it had been nominated for, Community Learning and Sustainability Action.  The awards ceremony took place at Radisson Blu in Glasgow on Thursday, November 30, 2023, with the College team proudly receiving their accolades in the presence of over 280 guests. This marked a historic moment at Scotland’s largest College Awards, recognising the talent, innovation, and achievements of staff members from colleges across the country.

South Lanarkshire College secured its initial win in the College Community Learning category where the award was presented to the Rural Academy Team for its submission, "The Rural Academy for a Thriving Rural Community: Delivery of a PDA." Operating from its Lanark hub and various community venues across rural areas for the past five years, the Rural Academy has been devoted to providing training and employability services. Notably, the academy successfully assisted 650 local unemployed residents, delivering accredited training and support.

 In the academic year 2022-23, the Rural Academy collaborated with South Lanarkshire Council Education Services to achieve significant success by delivering the PDA Classroom Assistant course through the DWP work-based academy program. This initiative prepared residents in rural areas for potential job opportunities as Education Support Assistants, resulting in 14 out of 20 students successfully transitioning into paid employment.

The second accolade was the Sustainability Action Award, celebrating the "College Way Market: A Sustainable 2nd Hand Clothes Pop Up initiative." Launched in the academic year 2022-23, this initiative focuses on recycling and reusing donated clothing to reduce landfill impact. The 'College Way Market,' located on the South Lanarkshire College campus, serves as a platform where students can access donated clothing for free. Beyond addressing the environmental impact of fast fashion, the project provides valuable hands-on work experience for Learning Development students in a retail-like environment. It plays a crucial role in supporting students with limited incomes during the financial crisis, offering free clothing for everyday college attire and smart workwear suitable for job interviews. The initiative has now developed into a full-time shop, where students have access to free clothing on a daily basis.

Stella McManus, Principal of South Lanarkshire College, spoke about the College's success, stating that “the Rural Academy and the College Way Market initiatives exemplify the College's commitment to prioritising students' needs. The well-deserved recognition at a national level reflects the dedication and hard work of the College team, serving as examples of best practice in supporting students and the community. My warmest congratulations go to all staff and students involved in these impactful initiatives!”