A Scottish college and university have partnered to create the region's first joint undergraduate school on a college campus, offering students new options for industry-focused degree programmes.

The University of the West of Scotland and New College Lanarkshire's new Undergraduate School launches later this afternoon. It will add six new degree programmes – across health and social care, business, digital technologies, science and the Arts – to New College Lanarkshire's offering.

Ahead of the launch event, a college spokesperson said the joint undergraduate school was the next stage in a long-running partnership between UWS and New College Lanarkshire. 

"The new Undergraduate School will provide significant, diverse and sustained opportunities for people in Lanarkshire to gain a degree qualification in order to support and enhance their career aspirations.

"Recognising that degree attainment in North Lanarkshire is below the national average in Scotland, the new Undergraduate School will provide an important new route towards accessing a degree that is firmly focused upon building a successful future career."

The new degree courses were developed with input from North Lanarkshire Council and Skills Development Scotland, to create pathways that meet specific skills shortages in North Lanarkshire. 

Professor Christopher Moore, Principal and Chief Executive of New College Lanarkshire, said that the partnership between UWS and the college allowed both institutions to lend their strengths to creating degrees focused on local opportunities for study that are relevant to the needs of the Lanarkshire community. 

"The Undergraduate School has secured the support of employers across the region and we will work with them to ensure that the Undergraduate School’s degree portfolio clearly meets the requirements of a dynamic and competitive employment market.

"Each of the degrees will benefit from industry support and engagement.

"This will ensure that the courses serve as a powerful launchpad for beginning or changing career."

(Image: New College Lanarkshire)

Kelly Caulfield, who has registered for the BSc in Collaborative Health and Social Care, said that she decided to pursue her degree because she believes in New College Lanarkshire.

"I chose to continue to study with NCL as I feel like I have built a good trusting relationship with the amazing lecturers, it is more central and suits my position as a single mother with a child with additional needs.

"I have studied at NCL for the past two years and with the support of the lecturers and head of department I was able to finish my studies.

"The fact that the degree is held in NCL is what made my mind up to come back and study."

Millie O'Donnell is a newly-registered student at the UWS/New College Lanarkshire Undergraduate SchoolMillie O'Donnell is a newly-registered student at the UWS/New College Lanarkshire Undergraduate School (Image: New College Lanarkshire)

Millie O’Donnell said that she signed up for the Undergraduate School's BA in Enterprise and Marketing to learn how to use her talents to give back to her community.

"I signed up because my future goal is to have my own successful business in music therapy. I love psychology, mental health, music, and helping others.

"This is exactly what I’m looking forward to, to aid me in the process of creating the business. I am excited to see what lies ahead and looking forward to meeting a new cohort of people."

New dental student Alison Green said she is looking forward to taking advantage of New College Lanarkshire's opportunities for practical learning.

"Venturing back into education, after raising a family, is something that I have wished for, albeit with some trepidation.

"During an Open Day visit to New College Lanarkshire, I had a chance to see the award-winning facilities and talk with staff members, who were very approachable and friendly.

Alison Green said that combining the relative strengths of the local college and university made the Undergraduate School an easy choice.Alison Green said that combining the relative strengths of the local college and university made the Undergraduate School an easy choice. (Image: New College Lanarkshire)

"I’m most looking forward to being in a dental environment during our practical placement, as I can then see the theory we have learned in class, in action.

The partnership also marks the first direct university presence in North Lanarkshire. 

UWS Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor James Miller said combining the powers and partnerships from both "anchor" institutions will help to "increase and accelerate access" to undergraduate degree opportunities across Lanarkshire.

"It allows us to embed our University in the local community through NCL as we continue to expand our partnership, working with students, employers and organisations in the area to create a tertiary education model that works for all – tackling historic under-provision and addressing demography and access barrier challenges."