Have your say on proposed college merger | Thoir do bheachd mun cho-aonadh a thathar a’ moladh

There’s still time to have your say on the proposed merger of UHI North Highland, UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI West Highland as the 10-week public consultation enters its final weeks.

This exciting new strategic partnership would create an anchor institution of scale and impact within UHI, and the region, supporting 9000 students and 600 staff in 19 rural and island campus locations across the north of Scotland.  

All three colleges face similar challenges including real-term funding cuts, rising costs and a declining demographic. By coming together, they become a more resilient, efficient, and financially sustainable organisation, with the talent, expertise, and capacity to grow and fully respond to the needs of their local communities.  

Merger will also enhance the student experience by providing access to more learning opportunities and support; protect local jobs; and focus the colleges’ collective strengths to support the growth of key industries, particularly in the blue and green economies, through distinctive education, training, and world-class research.  

The last of three online public consultation sessions takes place on Wednesday 28 September, 7pm to 8pm. It’s an opportunity to find out more about the merger proposal, ask questions and provide feedback. The merger team will also be looking for feedback on college identity. Visit https://www.rural-islands-merger.uhi.ac.uk/consultation-events/ to sign up. 

A series of public drop-ins have taken place in campuses and learning centres, with drop-ins in the Outer Hebrides coming up next week.  

The full merger proposal and business case, including a detailed rationale and financial model, can be viewed at www.rural-islands-merger.uhi.ac.uk. The full proposal builds on feedback from the initial consultation with staff, students and external stakeholders, which took place in December 2021 and January 2022. 

People can make their views known by completing a merger survey or emailing rural-islands-merger@uhi.ac.uk 

The consultation runs until Friday 14 October.  

In a joint statement, the three principals, Debbie Murray (UHI North Highland), Sue Macfarlane (UHI Outer Hebrides), and Lydia Rohmer (UHI West Highland), said: “There’s just a few weeks left for people to have their say on this exciting development, which we believe will be transformational for our rural and island communities. Merger is about doing more, not less. By coming together, we create a more resilient, sustainable organisation, which will continue to serve our local communities in the way we do now, but with more impact. We will have combined capacity to better meet the needs of our communities and to respond to the range of social, cultural and economic opportunities that make our region one of the most exciting places in the country to live, work and study right now. We urge people to go online to look at the merger proposal and provide feedback via our survey.” 

Dr Michael Foxley, chair of the partnership board leading the merger project, added: “We are confident this is the best way forward for our rural and island colleges, which play a critical role in supporting our local communities, not only through access to learning, training, skills development, and world-class research, but as local employers. We are on the brink of a blue and green industrial revolution. By coming together, we ensure we have the resource and capacity to meet the training needs of employers in our areas, helping to support the growth of our fragile economies. All views will be taken on board and will help refine the case for merger, which will be considered by the boards of management at each of our three colleges later this year.” 

ENDS 

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Tha tìde ann fhathast do bheachd a thoirt mun cho-aonadh a tha air a mholadh airson UHI Gàidhealtachd a Tuath, UHI Innse Gall agus UHI Gàidhealtachd an Iar agus an co-chomhairleachadh poblach 10 seachdain a ruighinn na seachdainean mu dheireadh. 

Chruthaicheadh an com-pàirteachas ro-innleachdail ùr inntinneach seo ionad-stèidh anns am biodh meud foghainteach agus buaidh taobh a-staigh de UHI, agus an sgìre, a’ toirt taic do 9000 oileanach agus 600 neach-obrach air 19 de làraichean àrainn dùthchail is eileanach air feadh cheann a tuath na h-Alba. 

Is e dùbhlain cho-chosmhail a tha mu choinneamh nan trì colaistean air fad a’ gabhail a-steach maoineachadh nach eil a' ruigsinn cho fada is a bha e, cosgaisean a tha ag èirigh agus àireamhan-sluaigh a tha a’ crìonadh. Le bhith a’ tighinn còmhla, nì iad buidheann nas righne, nas èifeachdaiche agus nas seasmhaiche a thaobh ionmhais, leis an tàlant, an sàr-eòlas, agus an comas a bhith a' fàs agus a' toirt làn fhreagairt air feumalachdan nan coimhearsnachdan ionadail aca. 

Bheir an t-aonadh leasachadh cuideachd air na dh'fhiosraicheas oileanaich le bhith a’ tairgsinn barrachd chothroman ionnsachaidh is taic; dìonaidh e obraichean ionadail; agus leigidh e leis na colaistean, is am buadhan air an cur ri chèile, a bhith a' tarraing air an aon ràmh gus taic a thoirt do ghnìomhachasan cudromach a bhith a' fàs, gu sònraichte anns an eaconamaidh ghorm is uaine, tro fhoghlam is trèanadh air leth, agus rannsachadh a bhios air thoiseach aig an ìre chruinneil. 

Gabhaidh am fear mu dheireadh de na seiseanan co-chomhairleachaidh poblach air-loidhne àite air Diciadain 28 Sultain, 7f gu 8f. Is e cothrom a tha ann faighinn a-mach mun mholadh co-aonaidh, ceistean fhaighneachd agus fiosrachadh a thoirt.  Bidh an sgioba co-aonaidh cuideachd a’ sireadh fios air ais mu dhearbh-aithne na colaiste.  

Tha sreath de choinneamhan tadhail poblach air àite a ghabhail ann an campasan agus àrainnean ionnsachaidh, agus bidh seo a’ gabhail àite ann an Innse Gall an ath sheachdain. 

Chithear an tairgse co-aonaidh iomlan agus a’ chùis ghnothachais, a’ gabhail a-steach reusanachadh mionaideach agus modail ionmhais, aig www.rural-islands-merger.uhi.ac.uk. Tha an tairgse iomlan a’ togail air beachdan a fhuaras bhon chiad cho-chomhairle le luchd-obrach, oileanaich agus luchd-ùidhe bhon taobh a-muigh, a ghabh àite san Dùbhlachd 2021 agus san Fhaoilleach 2022. 

Faodaidh daoine am barail a thoirt seachad air an aonadh le bhith a’ lìonadh ar suirbhidh aonaidh no a’ cur bheachdan chun an t-seòlaidh puist-d shònraichte a th' againn airson an aonaidh: rural-islands-merger@uhi.ac.uk 

Bidh a’ cho-chomhairle a’ ruith gu Dihaoine 14 Dàmhair. 

Ann an aithris a thug iad a-mach le chèile, thuirt an triùir phrionnsabalan, Debbie Mhoireach (UHI Gàidhealtachd a Tuath), Sue NicPhàrlain (UHI Innse Gall), agus Lydia Rohmer (UHI Gàidhealtachd an Iar): “Tha dìreach beagan sheachdainean air fhàgail airson daoine am beachd a thoirt mun leasachadh inntinneach seo a tha sinn dhan bheachd a bhios cruth-atharrachail do ar coimhearsnachdan dùthchail is eileanach.  Is e a bhith a' dèanamh barrachd a tha fa-near chan e nas lugha. Le bhith a’ tighinn còmhla, cruthaichidh sinn buidheann nas ruighne, nas seasmhaiche, a chumas air a’ frithealadh ar coimhearsnachdan ionadail mar a tha sinn an-dràsta, ach le barrachd buaidh. Bidh ar comas air a chur ri chèile againn gus coinneachadh nas fheàrr ri feumalachdan ar coimhearsnachdan agus freagairt a thoirt air an fharsaingeachd de chothroman sòisealta, cultarail agus eaconamach a tha a’ fàgail ar sgìre mar aon de na h-àiteachan as togarraiche san dùthaich airson a bhith a’ fuireach, ag obair agus ag ionnsachadh ann an-dràsta. Tha sinn a’ guidhe air daoine a dhol air-loidhne gus am moladh co-aonaidh fhaicinn agus fios air ais a thoirt tron t-suirbhidh.” 

Thuirt an t-Oll Michael Foxley, cathraiche bhòrd a' chom-pàirteachais a tha os cionn a’ phròiseict co-aonaidh: “Tha sinn cinnteach gur e seo an t-slighe as fheàrr air adhart airson ar colaistean dùthchail agus eileanach, a chluicheas pàirt air leth cudromach ann a bhith a’ toirt taic do ar coimhearsnachdan ionadail, chan ann a-mhàin tro chothrom air ionnsachadh, trèanadh, leasachadh sgilean, agus rannsachadh a tha air thoiseach aig an ìre chruinneil, ach mar luchd-fastaidh ionadail. Tha sinn aig ìre far a bheil rèabhlaid uaine agus gorm dìreach a’ tòiseachadh.  Le bhith a’ tighinn còmhla, nì sinn cinnteach gum bi an stòras agus an comas againn coinneachadh ri feumalachdan trèinidh luchd-fastaidh sna sgìrean againn, a chuidicheas ann a bhith a’ toirt fàs air ar eaconamaidhean brisg. Thèid aire a thoirt air a h-uile beachd agus cuidichidh iad le bhith a' lìomhadh na cùise airson a’ cho-aonaidh, air am bi na bùird-stiùiridh aig gach aon de na trì colaistean againn a’ beachdachadh nas fhaide air adhart am-bliadhna.” 

CRÌOCH 

For more information, please contact Helen Aird, Merger Communications Officer, on merger.sco@uhi.ac.uk  or telephone 07584 616 252.  

 

Airson tuilleadh fiosrachaidh, cuir fios gu Helen Aird, Oifigear Conaltraidh a’ Cho-aonta, aig merger.sco@uhi.ac.uk  no cuir fòn gu 07584 616 252.  

 

Notes to editors | Notaichean do luchd-deasachaidh 

 

  1. UHI North Highland, UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI West Highland are the trading names of North Highland College UHI, Lews Castle College UHI, and West Highland College UHI, respectively. 

 

Is e UHI Gàidhealtachd a Tuath, UHI Innse Gall agus UHI Gàidhealtachd an Iar ainmean malairt Colaiste Gàidhealtachd a Tuath UHI, Colaisde Caisteal Leòdhais UHI, agus Colaiste Gàidhealtachd an Iar UHI.  

 

  1. UHI North Highland, UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI West Highland partners of UHI, the University of the Highlands and Islands, a diverse tertiary partnership serving our communities and connected to their needs. We offer flexible and supported learning from access level to PhD, as well as research opportunities rooted in place and purpose. The diversity and flexibility of our partnership is our greatest strength, allowing us to deliver more. 

 

Tha UHI Gàidhealtachd a Tuath, UHI Innse Gall agus UHI Gàidhealtachd an Iar nan com-pàirtichean de UHI, Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd ’s nan Eilean com-pàirteachas treas ìre eadar-mheasgte a tha a’ frithealadh ar coimhearsnachdan agus co-cheangailte ris na feuman aca.  Tha sinn a’ tabhann ionnsachadh sùbailte agus le taic bho ìre inntrigidh gu Phd, cho math ri cothroman rannsachaidh freumaichte ann an àite agus adhbhar.  Is e ar prìomh neart an t-iomadachd agus an sùbailteachd a tha nar com-pàirteachas, a tha a’ leigeil leinn a bhith a’ lìbhrigeadh barrachd. 

 

  1. UHI North Highland, UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI West Highland support 9000 students and 600 staff in 19 remote, rural and island campus locations covering the Highlands, Skye and the Western Isles. 

 

Tha UHI Gàidhealtachd a Tuath, UHI Innse Gall agus UHI Gàidhealtachd an Iar a’ toirt taic do 9000 oileanach agus 600 neach-obrach ann am 19 làrach campais iomallach, dùthchail agus eileanach air feadh na Gàidhealtachd, An t-Eilean Sgitheanach agus Nan Eilean an Iar.