West Lothian College has received the Going Further for Student Carer Recognition Award from the Carers Trust Scotland.

The Going Further for Student Carers: Recognition Award was launched in 2019 and aims to make it easier for Scotland’s 27 colleges to identify, support and report on student carers, and recognise good practice.

The award was initially brought to the college’s attention through the College Development Network (CDN) and inspired Student Support Manager Lorna Jenkins and Student Support Officer Helen Wilson to review how carers are supported at the college.

Helen and Lorna set up group within the college and got various members of staff involved, both support and teaching, as well as the Student Association. This group looked at what was being done well in terms of supporting students with caring responsibilities and also identified areas for improvement.

Lorna said: “We discovered that lots of student carers don’t realise they are a carer to begin with. They might look after a younger sibling on a daily basis but don’t think about it as being a carer, they just see it as helping their family.

“We wanted to encourage students to share with us that they have caring responsibilities, and ensure that they know we can help them juggle college life with the demands of being a student carer. We received a lot of support from Carers Trust Scotland and Carers of West Lothian to review our process of identifying and supporting student carers.”

After reviewing the process, developing policy documents, creating an area for staff development and ensuring that staff across the college are aware of how to identify and direct student carers to the appropriate support, West Lothian College was awarded the Going Further for Student Carer Recognition Award.

The college has worked hard and is committed to supporting existing students who are carers as well as those who are considering attending college for the first time. To find out more about all the types of support available at West Lothian College visit: https://www.west-lothian.ac.uk/help-advice/student-support-services/.