A WORKING group of staff from Shetland College and NAFC Marine Centre has been formed to explore developing student accommodation in the isles.
Members of the Shetland college board heard on Wednesday that there is a “clear desire” across the isles’ tertiary education sector for dedicated student accommodation serving both the college and the fisheries college, which are both under the banner of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).
Having student accommodation in the redeveloped Knab site, where the old Anderson High School is located, has also been suggested.
NAFC students have been housed in the 25-room Port Arthur House in Scalloway since 2000, although a structural issue forced its closure last summer.
It does not look like an UHI-funded student residence will be forthcoming in Shetland anymore following the collapse of the Commercial Road plans.
Interim joint principal Willie Shannon wrote in a report considered by the meeting that “if we are to realise the potential for growth in the sector in Shetland, an alternative approach to UHI has to be found”.
It comes against a backdrop of Shetland College, NAFC Marine Centre and Train Shetland getting set to merge into one organisation within the UHI network, with hopes that the process will be concluded in August 2020.
College board chairman Peter Campbell said having accommodation was “significant for the sustainability” of the new merged college.
“I think it’s important that this gets to the forefront,” he added, saying the lack of designated accommodation has had an adverse effect on student numbers.
North mainland councillor Emma Macdonald welcomed the initiative, but added she was “struggling to see where the money is going to come from”.
Shannon said he expected a strategic business case on the issue, which could be completed later this month, would look at all possible funding streams.
Shetland Islands Council development director Neil Grant said the business case would examine “all the options” for digs, which could include using existing buildings and accommodation provided by the private rental sector.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 350 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or by monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News