Scotland’s colleges benefiting from wild places

Trust’s engagement scheme proves popular in Further Education establishments

West highland college uhi (credit   lara adams) detail

Colleges in Scotland have seen over 400 students and staff achieve a John Muir Award during the 2016-17 academic year, with 84% of these Awards being achieved by people facing some form of disadvantage.

Across Scotland, further education colleges are using the John Muir Award to give structure to programmes, support the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence, build skills for learning, life and work and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for both young people and adult learners.

A recent report from the John Muir Trust has revealed that 75% of the colleges in Scotland were involved in delivering the John Muir Award during 2016-17. The report highlights how the Award is used to deliver on a variety of themes including employability, childcare, healthy living and adventure studies.

Jim Metcalfe, Chief Executive of the College Development Network, commented on why colleges see the value of recognising individuals’ efforts through wider achievement awards: “Nationally recognised awards, such as the John Muir Award, can provide frameworks for learning and skills development, create opportunities to build on students’ knowledge and ambitions, offer talking points for interviews and on CVs, and help recognise individual achievements in meaningful, tangible ways.

"Colleges use the John Muir Award because it helps put individuals at the heart of their own education.”

Lucy Sparks, John Muir Award Scotland Inclusion Manager, said: “We’re delighted to see colleges across Scotland using the Award to help reach a wide range of audiences, from those who face barriers to learning to those at risk of disengaging with their education.

"Getting out of the classroom and experiencing wild places first-hand can create diverse learning opportunities, allowing students to build confidence, develop their skills and enjoy the wellbeing benefits that being in nature can bring.”

To find out more about how the John Muir Award can help to reach inclusion audiences in a wide variety of settings, see our Inclusion, Wild Places & the John Muir Award publication, available at

Photo of West Highland College UHI students by Lara Adams