Jamie Mcdiarmid is a second year international politics student who wants to be elected as the next non traditional students officer.
Why are you running to be the non traditional students officer?
“I’m running for non traditional students officer because getting heavily involved in my first year at the students union i want to give something back. So when the non traditional students officer position came up i thought it was the perfect opportunity, i am a non traditional student myself, i came from college , city of glasgow college and then came here and started politics in first year and its something i want to give back and i just want to represent non traditional students.”
With your experience of coming from college before university, what would you encompass from your own personal experience of doing a college course first ,into being , if elected that role?
“From my personal experience i feel like the transition could be a lot better, although some people say it feels like a stepping stone, it doesn’t really feel like a stepping stone because college feels completely different to university especially the pace of work, so that’s something i want to look at, how we help students that come from college and helping them with that transition process and the workload”
When you talk about helping them with the transition do you have any specific ideas in your head ,that you know how you would want to do that?
“Especially when it comes to Forth Valley college with their integrated degree programme, we could be working a lot closer with Forth Valley college especially the students association. At the moment, there’s cooperation but there is not a lot of it there, especially when it comes to Freshers, societies get offered to go to Forth Valley but its not really advertised. Also we need to bring the union and the associations of both colleges together and actually sit down and come up with a plan of how we integrate people better.”
Mature students come under your role, in your manifesto you say you will support the development and work of mature students alongside the mature students society, can you elaborate on that?
“Obviously the mature student society is quite new, its a good forum for mature students, a lot of mature students have childcare responsibilities outside university, so what i want to do is help develop the society a lot more, make sure we have a lot of mature students who are involved in that because if that society is there it’s there for a purpose, to be a forum for mature students so we want to use that as the main forum for the union to liaise with mature students, especially around something that i want to do which is help with flexible learning for mature students especially those who have childcare responsibilities because it’s not good enough for them sometimes to come in during the day if they can’t get childcare.”
How would you go about that flexible learning plan, who would you try and work with or speak to?
“Flexible learning , it would have to work with the Vice President Education Amy and with our widening access team in the University and see what we can actually do to help mature students. The details of that , would obviously have to be worked out but its the conversations need to be had with the university faculties to see how we can implement that.”
Do you have any specific ideas about how to help care experienced students?
“For care experienced students what i want to do ,if elected, is set up a care experienced students steering group. I was having discussions with Amy (VP Education) about what the union does and what the university does and apart from its legal obligations ,it doesn’t do much else and i think there is a lot more we could be doing. The steering group would be setup for care experienced students to come together and tell us exactly what we should be doing to cater to their needs because it needs to come from them”
A lot of care experienced students will be estranged from their families in a way and with that comes the burden of mental health issues and the need to be housed full time , a lot of them struggling to apply for student finances, as non traditional students officer would you feel able to tackle these specific issues?
“Yeah , its especially something we have to look into, especially what support the university can put in place. I think there is plenty that the University could be doing to help, we do have the introduction of a care experienced bursary from the Scottish Government so we need to make sure the care experienced students know about that and see how the union can support care experienced students in applying for that”
i know you are involved in the independence society , do you think your experience in that society will be useful at all in this role?
I would like to think so, obviously that society is quite political and the stuff i would try and do as non traditional students officer, i don’t want to politicise a lot of the things obviously.”
In terms of your contact with the local authority though in that society, you may have to work with the local authority in some way?
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“In terms of my experience of representing people, i was a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament alongside Chloe Whyte (Union President candidate) so i have plenty of experience of representing young people from all different backgrounds.”
Did you ever deal with anything specific when you were an MSYP that would come under your role in the students union if elected ?
“Yeah we had a local young carers group, especially in the high schools for my constituency ,which was Cumbernauld and Kilysyth. So we had young carers groups in some of the high schools and used that as an MSYP as our main forum to reach those young people because they are quite hard to reach, so we had to use a lot of care experienced youth groups at the time, so i’ve liaised with quite a lot of care experienced students before”
Voting for the Union elections is now open,