Consultation launched on proposed college merger | Co-chomhairleachadh air a chur air chois mun cho-aonadh colaiste a th’ air a mholadh

A 10-week public consultation on the proposed merger of UHI North Highland, UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI West Highland has been launched today.

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 and ambitions of their local communities.

Merger will also enhance the student experience by providing access to more flexible 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 three colleges have already confirmed:

  • There will be no compulsory redundancies as a direct result of merger.
  • A new college will have incorporated status, providing reassurance to staff on terms and conditions, ensuring ongoing access to public sector pensions schemes. The colleges have already committed to adopting national bargaining on pay.
  • Remaining local through dispersed leadership and management, maintaining local presence, and ensuring local views are heard and needs are met through the introduction of local advisory committees.

In a joint statement, the three principals, Debbie Murray (UHI North Highland), Sue Macfarlane (UHI Outer Hebrides), and Lydia Rohmer (UHI West Highland), said:

“This is an opportunity for everyone 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. It is important people get involved and have their say."

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. It is important people get involved and have their say. 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.”

The full merger proposal and business case, including a detailed rationale and financial model, can be viewed at the Rural and Islands College Merger Project website along with details of online information events and drop-ins taking place in campuses and learning centres throughout the consultation.


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 on merger known by completing our merger survey or sending comments to our dedicated merger email address: rural-islands-merger@uhi.ac.uk

The consultation runs until Friday 14 October. 

ENDS

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Chaidh co-chomhairleachadh poblach 10 seachdainean air an aonadh a tha san amharc eadar UHI Gàidhealtachd a Tuath, UHI Innse Gall agus UHI Gàidhealtachd an Iar fhoillseachadh an-diugh.

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 agus àrd-amasan nan coimhearsnachdan ionadail aca.

Bheir an t-aonadh leasachadh cuideachd air na dh'fhiosraicheas oileanaich le bhith a’ tairgsinn cothroman ionnsachaidh is taic nas sùbailte; 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.

Tha na trì colaistean air dearbhadh mar-thà:

  • Nach tèid cur às gu h-èigneachail ri dreuchdan sam bith mar thoradh dìreach air an aonadh.
  • Gum bi inbhe cho-chorpaichte aig colaiste ùr, rud a leigeas le luchd-obrach a bhith earbsach a thaobh teirmichean is cumhaichean, agus a nì cinnteach gum bi cothrom leantainneach aca air sgeamaichean peinnsein san roinn phoblaich. Tha na colaistean air gealltainn mar-thà gun gabh iad ri barganachadh nàiseanta mu phàigheadh.
  • Gum bithear fhathast ionadail tro cheannardas agus stiùireadh sgapte, a' cumail làthaireachd ionadail, agus a' dèanamh cinnteach gun cluinnear beachdan ionadail agus gum bithear a' coinneachadh ri feumalachdan tro chomataidhean comhairleachaidh ionadail a chur air bhonn.

Ann an aithris a thug iad a-mach le chèile, thuirt an triùir phrionnsapalan, Debbie Mhoireach (UHI Gàidhealtachd a Tuath), Sue NicPhàrlain (UHI Innse Gall), agus Lydia Rohmer (UHI Gàidhealtachd an Iar): “Seo cothrom don h-uile duine am beachdan a thoirt seachad air a' cheum thogarrach seo, a tha sinn a’ creidsinn a bheir cruth-atharrachadh air ar coimhearsnachdan dùthchail agus eileanach. Is e a bhith a' dèanamh barrachd a tha fa-near dhuinn leis an aonadh seo, chan e nas lugha. Le bhith a’ tighinn còmhla, cruthaichidh sinn buidheann nas righne, nas seasmhaiche, a chumas oirre a’ frithealadh ar coimhearsnachdan ionadail mar a tha sinn an-dràsta, ach le barrachd buaidhe. 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 e cudromach gun tèid daoine an sàs agus gun cuir iad am beachdan an cèill.

Thuirt an t-Oll Michael Foxley, cathraiche bhòrd a' chom-pàirteachais a tha os cionn a’ phròiseict aonaidh:

“Tha sinn cinnteach gur e seo an t-slighe as fheàrr air adhart airson ar colaistean dùthchail agus eileanach, a chluicheas pàirt uile-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 e cudromach gun tèid daoine an sàs agus gun cuir iad am beachdan an cèill. Thèid aire a thoirt air a h-uile beachd agus cuidichidh iad le bhith a' lìomhadh na cùise airson aonachadh, air am bi na bùird-stiùiridh aig gach aon de na trì colaistean againn a’ beachdachadh nas fhaide air adhart am-bliadhna.”

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 còmhla ri brath mu thachartasan fiosrachaidh air-loidhne agus tachartasan bualaidh a-steach a bhios a’ gabhail àite air àrainnean agus ionadan ionnsachaidh fad a' cho-chomhairle.

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 baralaichean 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.

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.
  2. 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.

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.

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.