20th January 2019
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Councillors give unanimous backing to college merger

Councillors have unanimously backed the long-anticipated merger between Shetland College, the NAFC and Train Shetland.

Members gave their support to the project during a special full council meeting in the town hall on Wednesday.

It follows backing of the proposals by the College Board and education and families committee this week. Tuesday’s policy and resources committee also discussed the merger.

Board chairman Peter Campbell said the merger was crucially important for the future of tertiary education in the isles.

“Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today,” he said.

The proposals have also gained the support of the Scottish Funding Council.

However, chairman of the SIC’s education and families committee, George Smith, reiterated his “lingering concerns” about the “finanial envelope” surrounding the merger.

“I just trust that the financial envelope is big enough to achieve the outcomes that we strive for,” he said.

College lecturers have also voiced doubts about the financial projections.

Andrew Anderson from the Further Education Lecturers’ Association has questioned some of the figures quoted, and asked how a £600,000 increase in expected income can be achieved despite a 12 per cent cut in full time equivalent staffing numbers.

While the merger has gained full approval from the council, the project still has one final hurdle to clear.

The plans are due to go before members of the Shetland Fisheries Training Centre Trust, which operates the NAFC, on Monday.

• See Friday’s Shetland Times for full story.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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