The director of Shetland College has announced that he plans to retire next March.
George Smith, who is also director of Train Shetland, said he had “thoroughly enjoyed” taking the college forward and watching students achieve their potential.
Mr Smith has worked for Shetland Island Council for almost 30 years, predominantly in community learning.
For the last five years he has lead the college through a difficult period, reviving its fortunes following a critical inspection.
His decision to stand down was announced at this week’s Full Council meeting – Shetland College and Train Shetland are services governed and managed by the SIC.
Key among his achievements is shaping the college’s position within the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Mr Smith, 52, said he was leaving the post to examine his options – although he admitted he did not have any firm plans for the future yet.
“It was a positive decision on my part. I’ve been at the college for five years and it gives me an opportunity to think about what options I have for the future.
“I have no definite plans, but I’ve had a great time since joining the college. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the posts I’ve had at the council. It’s brilliant to see the students achieve their potential.
“The support I’ve received from staff and the board of management during my time at the college has been tremendous and I will miss them.”
Work is now underway to explore future options for management arrangements at the college.
One possibility is a joint management arrangement between Shetland College and the North Atlantic Fisheries Centre in Scalloway.
Further reports will be presented to councillors over the next six months to determine if the idea is feasible.
Chairman of the college’s board of management, councillor Andrew Hughson, said Mr Smith had made a valuable contribution over the years.
“Mr Smith has been a real asset to Shetland College. He has led the college to become a place where our students are proud to be learners and our staff are committed to helping our learners achieve their ambitions.
“Mr Smith will be a hard act to follow but, on behalf of the board of management, I wish him and his family best wishes for whatever the future might hold.”