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Education / Council confident college merger will be in ready to go by start of August

Shetland College.

A SENIOR council official says she is “entirely confident” that the local authority will be ready for the planned merger of Shetland’s tertiary eduction sector on 1 August.

Upon the ‘vesting’ date at the start of August Shetland College, NAFC Marine Centre and Train Shetland will operate under one organisation – Shetland UHI.

Shetland Islands Council’s corporate services director Christine Ferguson gave reassurances a meeting on Wednesday that things should be ready to go on 1 August, which is a new date informed by the Scottish Funding Council.

She was pressed by Shetland South member Allison Duncan to provide a “categoric assurance” that everything will be in place on time.

“I’m as confident as I can possibly be that we will certainly be ready,” Ferguson said at a meeting of the full council.

The previous vesting date was set for July, which the council was already well ahead with, she said.

Ferguson warned, however, that after the unpredictable nature of the last 12 months she cannot guarantee there will not any unexpected challenges.

The council operates Shetland College and Train Shetland, and the local authority expects to save £1 million a year after the merger.

Councillor Peter Campbell, who chairs the local authority’s college board, said he was pleased to see things edge towards a long-awaited conclusion.

“It’s heartening that we are now drawing this whole project to a close,” he said.

Campbell also praised the work of staff on the project, who he said have faced challenges not of their own making.

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