Following receipt of a commissioned options appraisal report on future options for UHI’s remote rural and island colleges in June 2021, the Boards of North Highland College UHI, Lews Castle College UHI and West Highland College UHI agreed to formally explore merger. Since then, a Partnership Board and an Executive Steering Group has been formed which is planning on how to proceed.
In September a visioning event took place with over 50 delegates from the colleges’ Boards, staff and student bodies to explore our collective ambition and aspiration, and what might be achieved. Many expressed their enthusiasm, excitement, and support to explore further how the proposals can be move forward. The merger proposals have the potential to:
- Deliver a college that will build on the excellence and expertise of our three current colleges, creating a step-change for learning, skills, enterprise and innovation in our region
- Foster a college which can bring equity of opportunity and will make a real and positive impact to the lives and prosperity of our people in the most fragile rural and island communities of Scotland and the UK
- Give staff greater job security, deliver a more sustainable curriculum and offer promote career progression.
We have now begun the formal process of examining how a merger could work and developing a business case for consideration. Our Partnership Board is detailed below, and the project is working towards a proposed vesting date of January 2023. Further updates and communications will be published here in due course.