Feedback and FAQs

Please submit your feedback using this form

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are FAQ's that we have had asked by staff and students. If you have a question then please use the feedback form within this section.

Has it been agreed to merge?

No.  The project that is happening at the moment is to present a business case to the governing bodies (Shetland Fisheries Training Centre Trust and Shetland Islands Council) to make a decision.

Is my course going to be cut to save money?

This is not just about saving money and there’s also an opportunity for us to be asking if we are delivering the right courses.  Find out more about what we are looking at regarding courses and curriculum.

Are two College locations (and all the buildings) sustainable?

There is not an alternative option at the moment as not one College estate can house the other – and that would not be ideal either.  A new College building and student accommodation block is seen as something that we should be aiming for in the future.  Do you have a suggestion or thoughts about this?  Let us know using the feedback form above.

Why has this project taken place when many staff and students are on holiday?

It’s worth remembering there has been a number of years of reviews and consultations that have included engagements with staff and students.  That is there and available to the work streams to ensure they are informed in that respect.  We know we have to get better at communications though and that is why we are doing this.  Communications should go both ways and if you have comments or suggestions please contact us using the feedback form up above.

Is my job safe?

We are looking at putting in place a business case that shows how we can delivery Research, Education and Training in Shetland in a sustainable and effective way.  For example, we already know, from some of the work on this project, that areas of our support services are under resourced.  We are therefore working hard to make sure we look at things from the bottom up – to make sure that we have the right resources in place.

Is this just another review that will go nowhere?

This is not a review.  This is a project which will present a Business Case to the Governing Bodies in order to make a decision on whether to merge.  If there is no decision to merge then we must end the process of reviews, etc.  We are committed to removing the uncertainty that has existed for a number of years - for our staff and students especially.

Is it true that Shetland College run courses with just 2 people on it?

Yes.  Sometimes there are courses with just 1 student on Campus.  These are often networked HE courses which are funded differently to other courses.  That is the same for many Academic Partners within the UHI and it is what makes certain HE and degree courses especially financially viable across the whole partnership.

Is Port Arthur House closed for good and what is happening with student accommodation?

It is closed for now as the building has to be looked into for health and safety reasons. 

This project cannot solve the student accommodation issue – but it’s clear that has to be a priority for maintaining current student numbers and would certainly support efforts to increase student numbers.

What are these work streams and who is leading them?

Find out more here.

How will you decide what pay and conditions apply in a new College?

What is important is to get the organisational structures right (which is informed by all the work streams).  That is what we feel is priority at this stage – what human resources are required rather than what is the financial cost.   When it comes to pay and conditions, if there is a decision to merge, the proper consultations with staff and unions will of course be a priority.

If Shetland College merges into NAFC does that mean NAFC has taken over Shetland College?

No.  When the initial outline document was circulated in the Spring there were two models agreed for this project to look into.  One was ‘host NAFC’ and the other was a new organisation.  Both are effectively new - there are just legal differences in what happens which can impact on costs which is why both options were stated for this project.  Find out more about Governance and Law here.

What will happen to my pension?

If merger is agreed then your pension would be transferred over at the right time.  We will keep staff informed when we can.  If you are concerned then please initially talk to your Line Manager or get in touch with us using our feedback form up above.

Were pensions not the stumbling block before – how do you know that won’t happen again?

Shetland Islands Council have been working hard on ensuring that will not happen again. 

If merger is agreed when will all the changes happen?

If the Governing Bodies decide to merge it takes about one year from that decision point to the ‘vesting date’ of the new College.  There are several things that have to happen within that year that include the appointment of a new Board, recruitment of a new Principal and seeking approval from the Scottish Government.

Where’s the UHI in all of this?

The UHI are on the Colleges Integration Liaison Group and the Project Manager maintains regular contact.

If a new College is agreed it will be assigned as an academic partner to the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Is this just Shetland College staff emails that are CC’d to all staff to save time?

tesshetland@uhi.ac.uk was set up after receiving feedback from NAFC staff. ‘tesshetland’ stands for Tertiary Education Sector Shetland.  Often the staff (and student) bulletins are written by Jacqui Clark who just happens to be based at Shetland College UHI.  Sometimes, including these pages online, have to be where they are in order to make it easier for Jacqui to keep pages up to date, etc.   It’s worth remembering that students already share these kind of communication channels, including online support pages and information on student voice.

What will the College be called?

We don’t know yet as there has not been a decision taken to merge.  If that decision is made why don’t you make a suggestion by contacting us using the feedback form at the top of this page.

Wasn’t the UHI looking at integration?  Should we not just wait for that to happen?

We have a project and a timescale locally.  We think there has been enough uncertainty for staff and students over a number of years and it is time to remove that.  We are of course taking account of any developments or proposals regionally (e.g ongoing single policy environment work, the UHI marketing and branding project – What difference has UHI made to you, etc) but at this stage the priority must be Shetland.

Do you have a question? 

Contact us using the form above or email us.