Colleges exceeded the Scottish Government’s target for the number of full-time equivalent places by almost 2,000 students in the last academic year.

Scottish Funding Council figures show there were 328,889 college enrolments in 2018-19 – an 8.5% increase on the year before – and 118,242 full-time equivalent places.

Record levels of learning hours were delivered to students with a disability, experience of care or from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Welcoming the figures, Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “Colleges play an important part in providing our young people with the qualifications and skills that set them up for future success – while also allowing more mature students to expand their horizons – so it’s good to see that the number of students who are benefiting from this is exceeding Government targets.

“It’s particularly encouraging to see the growing diversity among college students, which shows how learning opportunities are increasing for everyone, no matter their background.

“The Scottish Government is committed to helping our college sector thrive – and these figures, along with the major investment in Forth Valley College’s first-class new campus in Falkirk, are clear evidence of this.”