Consultation sessions announced for proposed college merger

A series of staff, student and open public consultation meetings on the ambitious plans driving a proposed merger of three colleges within the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) network, has begun.

The consultation sessions are being held to seek the views of staff, students and stakeholders on a project which is designed to bring together Lews Castle College UHI, North Highland College UHI and West Highland College UHI to form a new institution by January 2023.  

The public meeting phase of the consultation will be led by the principals and senior representatives from each college and staged on Tuesday, January 18th, Wednesday January 26th and Monday, February 7th.  Meeting booking details are available here: Rural and Islands Merger Project Events | Eventbrite  

Last month, a consultation proposal document titled Building a Better Future Together, was shared with stakeholders which set out the vision for the merger and the document will form the basis of discussion and comment at each of the meetings.  

 A dedicated website was also launched in December: https://www.rural-islands-merger.uhi.ac.uk 

In a joint statement, the three principals, Lydia Rohmer, Debbie Murray and Sue Macfarlane said: “We are entering a really important stage. We have all been clear that the views of our staff and students as well as the wider public and stakeholders, are absolutely key to help us deliver our ambitious plans. 

“It is our belief the merger will bring together our three organisations to form a new college based on a partnership of equals. 

 “In additional to public meetings, we will also be holding consultation sessions with staff and students to gain their views. 

 “We are confident this proposal is the best way forward to benefit our students, our staff, our partnerships and our communities, and by building a better future together, we can deliver on our ambition to support local, regional, national and international opportunities.” 

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

 The consultation document sets out the ambition and guiding principles for the merger, and explains: 

  • Why merger is the right way forward for the three colleges and the communities and region they serve 
  • The impact on stakeholders, including businesses and local employers 
  • How feedback on the proposal can be given 

The new college will remain within the university network which has 12 institutions across the Highlands and Islands. 

Merger Partnership Board Chair, Dr Michael Foxley, added: ““This is a very positive and exciting merger of Colleges serving a huge area of remote rural and island communities. It will strengthen the resilience for College staff, whilst providing an enhanced curriculum for students. 

 “We want as many people as possible to get in touch, either via the dedicated website or indeed by participating in the consultation meetings and provide us with their thoughts on the proposals and share any concerns they may have around the project. 

“We are committed to making the right decisions for the future of the three colleges and that process can only be strengthened by the participation of as many staff, students and stakeholders as possible.” 

The Merger Partnership Board has already confirmed the proposals would not result in any direct job losses, the colleges would retain their local identities, and any savings identified would be reinvested to strengthen teams at all levels to enable innovation and leadership. 

Key dates: 

Staff consultation meetings: Tuesday, January 11; Wednesday January 12 and Tuesday, January 18. 

Public consultation meetings: Tuesday, January 18; Wednesday, January 26 and Monday, February 7 

Student consultation meetings: Friday, February 4 and Wednesday, February 9 

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 

The dedicated consultation website can be found at https://www.rural-islands-merger.uhi.ac.uk 

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

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

West Highland College UHI has no single, central campus but has learning centres from Ullapool to Kilchoan

_______________________ 

Tachartasan Co-chomhairleachaidh mu Cho-aonadh Cholaistean  Deimhinnte

Tha dùil gun tòisich sreath de choinneamhan co-chomhairleachaidh poblach mu phlanaichean adhartach airson co-aonadh a dhèanamh air trì colaistean air taobh a-staigh lìonra Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd is nan Eilean an ath sheachdain (Dimàirt, 18mh latha den Fhaoilleach).

Bidh an sgioba a th’ air cùl nam molaidhean a’ sireadh bheachdan mun phròiseact bho luchd-obrach, oileanaich agus luchd-ùidhe. ‘S e rùn a’ phròiseact a bhith a’ toirt Colaisde a’ Chaisteil OGE, Colaiste na Gàidhealtachd a Tuath OGE agus Colaiste na Gàidhealtachd an Iar OGE còmhla gus ionad-foghlaim ùr a chruthachadh ron Fhaoilleach 2023.

Bidh na coinneamhan co-chomhairleachaidh poblach air an stiùireadh le ceannardan agus àrd-riochdairean bho gach colaiste agus thèid an cumail thairis air trì oidhcheannan, Dimàirt 18mh latha den Fhaoilleach, Diciadain 26mh latha den Fhaoilleach agus Diluain 7mh latha den Ghearran.

Gheibhear fiosrachadh mu ciamar as urrainn àite a ghleidheadh an seo: Rural and Islands Merger Project Events | Eventbrite

Air a’ mhìos mu dheireadh, chaidh sgrìobhainn co-chomhairleachaidh leis an ainm Building a Better Future Together a shealltainn don luchd-ùidhe. Tha na tha san amharc airson a’ cho-aonaidh ri fhaicinn anns an sgrìobhainn seo agus thèid a chleachdadh mar bhun-stèidh airson deasbaid agus beachdan aig gach coinneamh.

Chaidh làrach-lìn shònraichte a chur air bhog anns an Dùbhlachd: https://www.rural-islands-merger.uhi.ac.uk

Thuirt na trì ceannardan, Lydia Rohmer, Debbie Mhoireach agus Sue NicPhàrlain ann an co-aithris: “Tha sinn an-dràsta aig ìre air leth cudromach. Tha sinn uile air a bhith soilleir gu bheil beachdan ar luchd-obrach agus ar n-oileanach, cho math ri beachdan a’ phobaill agus ar luchd-ùidhe riatanach airson ar cuideachadh le bhith a’ cur ar planaichean adhartach an gnìomh.

Tha sinn den bheachd gun toir an co-aonadh ar trì buidhnean còmhla gus colaiste ùr a chruthachadh a bhios stèidhte air com-pàirteachas eadar buidhnean co-ionann.

Tha sinn misneachail gur e am moladh seo an dòigh as fheàrr airson a dhol air adhart a chùm buannachd ar n-oileanach, ar luchd-obrach, ar com-pàirteachasan agus ar coimhearsnachdan; agus le bhith ag obair còmhla gus leasachadh a dhèanamh san àm ri teachd, ‘s urrainn dhuinn ar n-amas a lìbhrigidh gus taic a thoirt do chothroman ionadail, roinneil, nàiseanta agus eadar-nàiseanta.”

Chaidh planaichean a’ cho-aonaidh a tha a’ gabhail a-steach 9,000 oileanach agus timcheall air 600 neach-obrach tro mheasadh roghainnean mionaidean nas tràithe air a’ bhliadhna.

Tha an sgrìobhainn co-chomhairleachaidh a’ foillseachadh àrd amas agus prionnsabail stiùiridh a’ cho-aonaidh agus a’ mìneachadh:

  • Carson is e co-aonadh an dòigh air adhart do na trì colaistean, na coimhearsnachdan agus na roinnean a tha iad a’ frithealadh
  • A’ bhuaidh a bhios aige air luchd-ùidhe, a’ gabhail a-steach gnìomhachasan agus luchd-fastaidh ionadail
  • Ciamar as urrainn fios air ais a thoirt air a’ mholadh

Bidh a’ cholaiste ùr a’ fuireach air taobh a-staigh lìonra an oilthighe, far a bheil 12 ionad-foghlaim air feadh na Gàidhealtachd is nan Eilean.

Thuirt an Dtr Mìcheal Foxley, Cathraiche Bòrd Com-pàirteachas a’ Cho-aonaidh:

“Tha sinn airson gun cuir gach duine is urrainn fiosrachadh thugainn. Faodaidh iad sin a dhèanamh tron làrach-lìn shònraichte againn no tro bhith a’ gabhail pàirt anns na coinneamhan co-chomhairleachaidh againn. Cuiridh sinn fàilte air beachdan no draghan sam bith co-cheangailte ris a’ phròiseact.

Tha sinn a’ toirt gealltanas gun dèan sinn na co-dùnaidhean ceart airson math na trì colaistean anns an àm ri teachd. Bidh am pròiseas seo air a neartachadh ma bhios cothrom  aig oileanaich, luchd-obrach agus luchd-ùidh a bhith an sàs ann agus am beachdan a thoirt seachad.”

Tha Bòrd Com-pàirteachas a’ Cho-aonaidh air dearbhadh nach caill duine obair ri linn nam molaidhean  agus gun cum gach colaiste an dearbh-aithne fhèin. Thèid sàbhalaidhean sam bith a chur air ais dhan chompanaidh gus na sgiobaidhean a neartachadh aig gach ìre agus ùr-ghnàthachadh is ceannas a dhèanamh comasach.

Cinn-latha sònraichte:

Coinneamhan comhairleachaidh do luchd-obrach: Dimàirt 11mh latha den Fhaoilleach; Diciadain 12mh latha den Fhaoilleach agus Dimàirt an 18mh latha den Fhaoilleach.

Coinneamhan comhairleachadh don phoball: Dimàirt an 18mh latha den Fhaoilleach; Diciadain an 26mh latha den Fhaoilleach agus Diluain an 7mh  latha den Ghearran.

Coinneamhan comhairleachaidh do dh’oileanaich: Dihaoine 4mh latha den Ghearran agus Diciadain an 9mh latha den Ghearran.

ENDS

Ceistean tro na meadhanan:

Cuiribh post-dealain gu - rural-islands-merger@uhi.ac.uk

Làraich-lìn:

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

Fiosrachadh don luchd-deasachaidh

Gheibhear làrach-lìn sònraichte mun cho-chomhairleachadh aig at https://www.rural-islands-merger.uhi.ac.uk

‘S e Colaisde a’ Chaisteil OGE aon de na colaistean as lugha ann an Alba, a’ frithealadh oileanaich à Leòdhas, Uibhist a Tuath, Beinn na Fadhla is Barraigh.

Tha làrach oilthighean aig Colaiste na Gàidhealtachd a Tuath OGE ann an Inbhir Theòrsa, Hàcraig, Alanais agus Dòrnach.

Chan eil aon làrach oilthigh sònraichte aig Colaiste na Gàidhealtachd an Iar OGE ach tha ionadan foghlaim ann eadar Ullapul agus Cille Chomhain.