With just a few days to go before the public consultation for the merger of Scotland's four leading land-based colleges officially closes, the college partners are urging those who would like to participate but have not yet shared their views to get in touch.
Barony College, Elmwood College, Oatridge College and the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) have come together to look at how the increasing demands of the land-based sector could be met by a new institute of further and higher education which combines their strengths and expertise.
The ‘Going Further' consultation was launched on the 26th March to communicate proposals for a new college which will encompass learning, research and consultancy. The Consultation will officially close on the 7th May.
Staff and students across the colleges, local communities, industry partners and other stakeholders have been encouraged to voice their opinion on the proposals.
The consultation has involved public events in seven locations across Scotland attended by over 220 people. To date there have been over 110 direct responses to the merger consultation proposal. Feedback so far has highlighted the desire for colleges to retain their local profile and educational provision, as these are crucial to local community and industry. Other feedback has highlighted opportunities for new and shared industry partnerships which the merger will bring.
The land-based industries are crucial to the Scottish economy. The sector contributes nearly 70,000* jobs to the economy, and around 20,000* Scottish businesses operate in the land-based and environmental industries. The colleges believe the creation of a national land-based college for Scotland would help support the next generation of workers and businesses in this key industry.
Andy Robb, chair of the Going Further Partnership Board said, "We have had a good response to the consultation to date with many of our students and staff participating in road-shows and our stakeholders sharing their views through online feedback and one-to-one meetings.
"The land-based sector is of vital importance to the Scottish economy and our aim is to develop a new college that reflects the changing and often challenging needs of this important sector.
"We value the opinion of the students, staff and other stakeholders who are at the heart of our colleges and encourage all those who would like to express their views but have not yet done so to get in touch and help us shape the new college."
To feedback on the ‘Going Further' proposals, visit the website at: www.goingfurther.org.uk and select ‘Have your say'.