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Royal visit to take place this week in Thurso to mark UHI college merger

By John Davidson

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Princess Anne will be in Thurso on Friday. Picture: David Porter
Princess Anne will be in Thurso on Friday. Picture: David Porter

Princess Anne will be in Thurso on Friday as a week-long series of activities to celebrate the merger of three UHI colleges culminates.

UHI North, West and Hebrides is Scotland’s newest college following the merger of the former UHI North Highland college with similar institutions, UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI West Highland.

The new college claims it will play a key role in enabling people to live, work and study in the area and become more sustainable at a time when colleges are being challenged to do more, with less.

The Princess Royal, who is also Chancellor of UHI, will visit the Thurso campus on Friday for the graduation and celebration of success and achievement ceremony for North Highland students.

Further activities to mark the launch of the new college in campuses and centres around the region will take place throughout the rest of the month.

Lydia Rohmer, principal and chief executive of UHI North, West and Hebrides, said: “As a stronger, more sustainable organisation with combined capacity, resource and expertise, we can play a key role in unlocking the social, cultural and economic potential of our region.

“I look forward to working with everyone at UHI North, West and Hebrides and our partners to build on the rich legacy of our founding colleges and the opportunities ahead for our region.”

The new college has around 9000 enrolled students, 600 staff and 19 campuses and centres stretching from Caithness and Sutherland, Ross and Cromarty to Lochaber, Wester Ross, Skye and the Outer Hebrides.

Lydia Rohmer, principal of UHI North, West and Hebrides.
Lydia Rohmer, principal of UHI North, West and Hebrides.

MSP Graeme Dey, the Scottish Government minister for higher and further education, will visit the Stornoway campus on Thursday as part of the week of events.

He said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to the students, staff and the board of the newly created UHI North, West and Hebrides. This merger of the well-regarded UHI Outer Hebrides, North Highland and West Highland colleges will increase choice and make for a better experience for students.

“The new college, with its experienced workforce, is in a good position to take advantage of the region’s exciting economic opportunities.”

Meanwhile, the college is recruiting for new board members to help shape future education and training needs in the area.

To support the work of the board, UHI North, West and Hebrides is also looking to establish local advisory committees in each of its founding college areas, including for the North Highlands area.

These committees will meet twice a year, providing local oversight, accountability, and a strong link between the board and its communities.

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