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Letters / Look further than the end of your nose

I was originally going to write a substantial letter about the cultural and financial harm that cuts to higher education bring for our young people.

However, having seen the list of courses proposed for the chop (see appendix to this letter below), it seems doubtful that there will be anything left to study.

That said, I think it appropriate to draw attention to points 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of UHI’s objectives:

3. To carry out and promote research relevant to industry, community development, the protection and sustainability of marine and coastal environments, arts, heritage and Shetland UHI culture; and to make evidence available to educate, provide training and promote best practice

5. To prevent and relieve poverty, and in particular, among residents of the Operating Area and other areas of Scotland, the UK and internationally, by facilitating accessible learning opportunities and imparting skills, and life skills, which enable learners to secure employment and contribute to their community.

6. To relieve unemployment for the public benefit in such ways as may be thought fit, including assistance to find employment.

7. To advance citizenship and community development (including through the promotion of trade and commerce), wellbeing, inclusion, citizenship and community development.

8. To advance the arts, heritage and culture; of all aspects of island and sea-going life.

Could UHI-Shetland please comment on how their proposed cuts fulfil these objectives?

It is worth remembering the regret engendered by past decisions of a similar kind. I am thinking of the (thankfully) bygone war against Shetland’s cultural heritage in the form of cuts to knitting classes in primary schools and the attempted eradication of dialects.

Fortunately, there is now a drive for them to thrive, although (particularly in the case of knitting) this is largely down to the laudable efforts of the voluntary sector.

Please look further than the end of your nose; pause, think, and consider how future generations might view your proposals, should you enact them.

Adrian Brockless


Areas and courses facing the axe or significant reductions.

Access level courses

  • Health and Care
  • Learning centres
  • ESOL
  • Employability support courses
  • Core / Essential / ICT skills
  • Degrees, HNC’s, PDA’s in Accounting, Business and Admin/IT
  • Hospitality
  • Creative Industries
  • Film / Music
  • Northern Studies
  • SVQ Assessor / Verifier courses


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