Neal's blog: Christmas is coming!

It's December already and Christmas has snuck up on us again! I hope and pray everyone is coping well with assessments etc, before the semester ends and can take the time to relax, spend time with family and take part in some much needed self-care.

At ECSA we have had a just as stressful run up to the holidays too. With the team completing Scottish Mental Health First Aid (SMHFA) training we are now one of the only departments in the college which has a plus 90% workforce qualified to deliver Mental Health First Aid. We aim to challenge the college to implement the same efforts to have all frontline staff trained in the future. A challenge we will set ourselves is to be able to deliver this training to Class Reps in the future after such great feedback and interest.

Our strategic plan is gathering momentum with the excellent help of our Class Reps. In the current round of Conferences we have been developing how our values will ultimately shape our mission and vision in the strategic plan and this couldn’t be done with a few people locked in a room and guessing. We thank everyone who attended each conference and you can all be assured that the values chosen will be from the work the class reps have done at these sessions.

Just recently, I attended the College Board of Management where I presented the 5 areas of concern that Class Reps identified in the first round of Class Rep conferences. These concerns were noted and well received as the Board has recently been challenged with questioning the student concerns and holding the College Executive to account over these findings. This gave the College Executive an opportunity to explain how they will be tackling these issues going forward on both a short term and long term basis. I was put under some pressure and scrutiny over the findings by the Board members but the Class Reps who attended these meetings will tell you it was a student led exercise where students were even asked to take the notes from the meetings to assure there was no influence from staff or officers in the decisions.

I can’t wait to return after the New Year and meet our new intake of January start students and get down to some more hard work with a lot new and exciting opportunities available to new and existing members of our Students' Association.

Finally, on behalf of the ECSA team we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.