College merger staff given no job loss guarante

The proposed merger of three colleges within the University of Highlands and Islands will not directly result in any compulsory staff redundancies.

 A strategic project is currently examining bringing together Lews Castle College UHI, North Highland College UHI and West Highland College UHI to form a new college by January 2023. 

The merger plans, which could involve 9,000 students and around 600 staff, follow a detailed options appraisal earlier this year.

As well as a no job loss guarantee and a pledge to work closely with staff and Trade Unions throughout the process, two other key principles for the merger have been agreed. These are:

  • The creation of a new college would not result in any centralisation
  • Any savings identified would be reinvested to strengthen the educational offering.

In a joint statement, the three college principals Lydia Rohmer, Debbie Murray and Sue Macfarlane said: “We have made a clear commitment that there will be no compulsory redundancies and we will listen and collaborate with our staff, students and the pubic throughout the process.

“There is no intention for any form of centralisation, and a key development will be introducing three advisory committees to give voice to all of our local communities.

“The new College Board will include the Chair and Vice Chair of these local committees.

“Any savings identified by the merger will also be reinvested.”

The new college will remain within the university network which has 13 institutions across the Highlands and Islands.

A merger partnership board has been formed and a coordinator is being sought to take forward the plans.

The board consists of the principals and board chairs of the three colleges, along with staff and student representatives.

It is chaired by Dr Michael Foxley, who served as the university’s regional lead for Further Education between 2014-2021.

The principals’ statement continued: “Our communities need us to be the best we can be to help them be strong, resilient, thrive and prosper.

“The proposed merger offers us not only an opportunity to ensure we are doing just that but to consider if we can do it smarter and better. In short, it offers all of us a once in a generation opportunity to re-imagine and create our own future. We are making ambitious plans to do just that.”

The plans are supported by the university management and the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA).

 

HISA president Florence Jansen said: “HISA has been advocating for mergers between our Academic Partners to improve the student experience for a number of years and are pleased that this project is now starting.

“We are very excited about the possibilities to improve student experience through the merger and look forward to a more sustainable and diverse curriculum offer for our students, along with more opportunities for peer support and the potential for investment into infrastructure.

“We are delighted to be closely involved with the merger process through representation on the merger board and its working groups.”

 

Gealltanas nach lean co-aontachadh ri call cosnaidhean

Chan adhbharaich an co-aontachadh eadar trì colaistean Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd is nan Eilean call cosnadh am measg an luchd-obrach.

Tha pròiseact ro-innleachdail ag amas air Colaisde a’ Chaisteil UHI, Colaiste Ceann a Tuath na Gàidhealtachd UHI agus Colaiste Taobh Siar na Gàidhealtachd UHI a tharraing ri chèile gus colaiste ùr a stèidheachadh mun Fhaoilleach 2023. 

Tha planaichean co-aontachaidh, a dh’fhaodadh bualadh air 9,000 oileanach agus mu 6,000 neach-obrach, a’ tighinn à measadh mionaideach a rinneadh na bu tràithe am bliadhna sa.

A bharrachd air na gealltanasan nach caill luchd-obrach an cosnadh agus gun tèid obrachadh gu dlùth le Aonaidhean-ciùird tron phròiseas, chaidh dà phrìomh phuing eile aontachadh.  Is iad sin:

  • Chan eil stèidheachadh colaiste ùr a’ ciallachadh gun tèid cùisean a tharraing don mheadhan
  • Thèid sàbhalaidhean sam bith ath-thasgadh gus an curraicealam a neartachadh

 

Ann an co-abairt, thuirt Lydia Rohmer, Debbie Mhoireach agus Sue NicPhàrlain – prionnsabalan nan trì colaistean: “Tha sinn air gealladh soilleir a thoirt seachad nach caill luchd-obrach an cosnadh.  Èistidh sinn agus obraichidh sinn còmhla riutha, leis na h-oileanaich againn agus leis a’ phoball tron phròiseas seo.”

“Chan eilear ag amas air cùisean a tharraing chun mheadhain ann an dòigh sam bith, agus ’s e aon de na prìomh leasachaidhean gun tèid trì comataidhean-chomhairleachaidh a stèidheachadh gus beachdan na coimhearsnachdan ionadail againn a riochdachadh.”

“Bidh cathraichean agus iar-chathraichean nan comataidhean ionadail seo nam buill de Bhòrd Stiùiridh na colaiste ùire.”

“Bidh airgead sam bith a thèid a shàbhaladh tron cho-aontachadh air a chur air ais dhan cholaiste ùr.”

Bidh a’ cholaiste ùr fhathast mar phàirt de lìonra an oilthighe, a tha a’ gabhail a-steach 13 ionadan foghlaim air feadh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean.

Chaidh bòrd stiùiridh compàirteachais a stèidheachadh agus thathar a’ sireadh co-òrdanaiche gus na planaichean a thaobh co-aontachadh a thoirt air adhart.

Tha prionnsabalan agus cathraichean bùird-stiùiridh nan trì colaistean, cho math ri riochdairean luchd-obrach agus oileanach, air a’ bhòrd-stiùiridh seo.

’S e cathraiche a’ bhùird an t-Oll. Mìcheal Foxley, a bha roimhe os cionn bòrd sgìreil Foghlam Adhartach an oilthighe eadar 2014-2021.

Tha am brath-naidheachd bho na prionnsabalan cuideachd ag ràdh: “Gus na coimhearsnachdan againn a neartachadh, gus taic a thoirt dhaibh, gus piseach agus leasachadh a thoirt orra, feumaidh sinne a bhith aig àrd ar comais.”

“Tha an co-aontachadh a tha san amhairc a’ cruthachadh chothroman, chan ann a-mhàin seo a choileanadh ach cuideachd beachdachadh air dòighean-obrach nas èifeachdaich a chur an cèill. Ga chur gu sìmplidh, ’s e sàr-chothrom a tha seo an t-slighe air adhart a dhealbh dhuinn fhìn ann an dòigh cruthachail. Tha planaichean adhartach gan dealbh a dh’ionnsaigh nan amasan sin.”

Tha taic ga chur ris na planaichean seo le luchd-stiùiridh an oilthighe, agus Comann nan Oileanach (HISA).

Thuirt Ceannard HISA, Florence Jansen, “Tha HISA air a bhith a’ moladh airson grunn bhliadhnaichean gun tigeadh feadhainn de na colaistean còmhla gu foirmeil airson cùisean a leasachadh do dh’oileanaich, agus tha sinn toilichte gu bheil am pròiseact seo a-nis air tòiseachadh.

“Tha sinn a’ coimhead air adhart gu mòr ris na leasachaidhean seo agus ri curraicealam nas seasmhaiche agus iomadh-fhillte ri linn an co-aontachaidh. Bhithear an dùil gun cruthaich e cuideachd suidheachadh far am faod co-obraichean taic a thabhann do chàch a chèile, agus gum bi seilbheachd an lùib a’ bhun-structair ùr’.

“Tha sinn ro-thoilichte a bhith ag obair gu dlùth ri compàirtichean eile sa phròiseas seo tro ar riochdairean air a’ bhuidheann co-aontachaidh agus nam fo-chomataidhean obrach”.

ENDS

Media enquiries

Please e-mail - rural-islands-merger@uhi.ac.uk

Websites:

Lews Castle College UHI
North Highland College UHI
West Highland College UHI

Notes to editors

Lews Castle is one of the smallest colleges in Scotland, serving students in Lewis, North Uist, Benbecula and Barra.

North Highland College has campuses in Thurso, Halkirk, Alness and Dornoch.

West Highland College has no single, central campus but has learning centres from Ullapool to Kinlochleven.