Scotland's colleges offer a diverse curriculum - including vocational, further, and higher education - to a diverse range of people and communities.
With enrolments of approximately 440,000 annually, and a geographical coverage that extends from all the major towns and cities to remote rural areas such as the Shetland Isles, it is easy to see why the sector plays such an important role in the Government's lifelong learning and social inclusion agendas.
The sector is funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), acting on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. Overall strategic direction for the sector is provided by the Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning Directorate of the Scottish Government. This role is partially exercised through providing annual guidance to the SFC. At the same time, the directorate liaises closely with bodies such as Colleges Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, other UK government departments, and of course Scotland's colleges themselves to ensure that its policies remain both relevant and practical.