Students and the wider community are being asked for their opinion on a proposed college merger.
The UHI North Highland, UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI West Highland colleges are planning to create an “anchor institution” in the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).
The new college will be supporting 9000 students and 600 staff in 19 rural and island campus locations across the north of Scotland.
Blue and green industrial revolution
Dr Michael Foxley, chairman of the partnership board leading the merger project, said: “We are confident this is the best way forward for our rural and island colleges, which play a critical role in supporting our local communities, not only through access to learning, training, skills development, and world-class research but as local employers.
“We are on the brink of a blue and green industrial revolution.
“By coming together, we ensure we have the resource and capacity to meet the training needs of employers in our areas, helping to support the growth of our fragile economies.
“All views will be taken on board and will help refine the case for merger, which will be considered by the boards of management at each of our three colleges later this year.”
A spokeswoman for the colleges said: “All three colleges face similar challenges including real-term funding cuts, rising costs and a declining demographic.
“By coming together, they become a more resilient, efficient, and financially sustainable organisation, with the talent, expertise, and capacity to grow and fully respond to the needs of their local communities.
“Merger will also enhance the student experience by providing access to more learning opportunities and support; protect local jobs; and focus the colleges’ collective strengths to support the growth of key industries, particularly in the blue and green economies, through distinctive education, training, and world-class research.”
The last of three online public consultation sessions take place on Wednesday 28 September, 7pm to 8pm.
The merger team are also looking for feedback on college identity.
For more details on the merger, a dedicated website has been set up.
People can make their views known by completing a merger survey or emailing email@example.com
The consultation runs until Friday October 14.