Go Dundee

Attended a great event last Tuesday evening (it’s been a busy week so just sitting down now to reflect on it now).

The event started with the YouTube video narrated by Lorraine Kelly which is full of the great stuff that is happening in this small post-industrial city on the north-eastern coast of Scotland – from a branch of the V&A Museum and the computer games cluster around Abertay University to the reconnection of the city centre with the beautiful River Tay.

The theme of the evening was ‘The Learning City’ with three speakers Tom Schuller (author of ‘Learning Through Life’), David Dorward (CEO of Dundee City Council) and Pete Downes (Principal of Dundee University).

Tom presented on the inquiry into the Future of Lifelong Learning and his take on what needs to be done is worthy of a much longer post. I was struck by the proposal to move towards a categorisation of the key stages of learning as: up to 25; 25-50; 50-75; and 75+. As always you can argue at the boundaries but his rationale made good sense to me and seemed to fit with my own experience (still in the 25-50 category but only just). Crucial to lifelong learning is the need to rebalance resources fairly and sensibly across the different life stages. A tough one to crack as schools and universities grab most of the pie and always need more.

David set out a vision for Dundee to become the best small city in the UK with great passion and energy. Also with a sense of how this has to a be a civic partnership not just something the council can do on its own. In a city of 140,000 there are 24,000 students attending two universities and a large college but also 48,000 people living in some of the most deprived communities in Scotland. The two sides of the post-industrial coin.

Pete reminded us of the importance of the bio-tech sector in Dundee (16% of the Tayside economy). Dundee University boasts 800 life-scientists and the largest cluster of bio-tech companies in the UK outside of the south-east of England.

How this city has changed over my lifetime, even since I moved here almost 20 years ago. It’s great to see that Dundee is still on the move. Go Dundee ..

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