NAFC Marine Centre director David Gray has announced he is resigning after more than four years in the post to take up a new job in Nova Scotia.
Professor Gray will remain in post until the end of July to oversee the NAFC’s contribution to a review of all further education in the islands, which could result in a radical overhaul.
The respective roles of NAFC and Shetland College, where Professor Gray temporarily served as a joint director following George Smith’s retirement, could be transformed. Behind the scenes, there has been talk about the possibility of a partial merger of the two colleges for several years.
Irene Peterson has been installed as Shetland College’s acting principal until the future direction of further education becomes clearer.
In a statement announcing his resignation, Professor Gray said he had “thoroughly enjoyed” working at the NAFC and felt “privileged to have had the opportunity to lead the team through some exciting and challenging times”.
Having been approached in February by Dalhouise University in Nova Scotia, Professor Gray said that following “much deliberation” he had decided to accept the position of dean of faculty and principal at its new agricultural campus in Truro. It is a small town over 80km north of the provincial capital Halifax.
He said: “I will remain in post until 31st July, which will allow me to oversee the trust’s engagement with the current local review of tertiary education and with the Scottish Government’s plan for the regionalisation of further education provision.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff, past and present, for their continual support throughout my time here at the centre. I would also like to express my thanks to the board of trustees.
“I truly believe that the current board is the best we have had and their engagement and commitment to the trust and its mission places it in a very strong position.
“I wish the NAFC Marine Centre all the best for the future and I am confident that the centre will continue to play a vital role in Shetland’s economy.”
Trust chairman Arthur Nicolson said: “I am sorry to see David leave – his commitment and drive has been instrumental in raising the profile of the NAFC as a centre of excellence both locally and internationally. I wish him every success in his new venture and would like to thank him for his valuable contribution over the last four years.”