Updates and news


September - Project Team Update

There was a change to the project team meeting schedule to take account of some team member’s holidays, etc.  The following is an overview of what has been happening:

  • Business Development
    • Draft strategy received
  • Curriculum
    • Strategies for Learning and Teaching, Quality Enhancement and Curriculum Development Planning have been drafted by the workstream lead. These strategies have been discussed at Colleges Integration Liaison Group. 
  • Estates
    • The Estates workstream is being led by Chris Gadsby (SIC Capital Programme Service) and will produce an estates issues report.
  • Finance
    • Work on updating cost analysis continues.
    • There is a model being developed to create 10 year projections.  This includes guidelines and a checklist for workstream leads to ensure necessary information can be produced for the financial model.
    • Deloitte have been appointed to undertake the financial due diligence exercise for the project.
  • Governance
    • Legal due diligence exercise conducted by Anderson Strathern has commenced.
    • Information has been received from legal advisors showing the legal requirements of the remaining options (Host and New College) and on the features of potential new legal structures (company limited by guarantee or SCIO) for consideration by Project Board
  • HR
    • Report showing comparison between terms and conditions was submitted to Project Board. 
    • A helpful discussion with the Principal of Ayrshire College was held to discuss staffing issues in other college mergers.
  • IT
    • Issues report has been submitted and the financial implications built into financial modelling
  • Research
    • Research strategy drafted and financial implications being considered.
  • Student engagement, support and marketing
    • Focus had been on making alterations to the Marketing plan which can now be viewed here.
    • A consultation exercise on a potential name for the merged college launched at the graduation ceremony and the results are being collated.
  • Communications – A sector newsletter would be developed to be launched in November.  The engagement through the feedback form had been encouraging.

23rd August - Project Team Update

This week’s project team meeting was attended by Tommy Coutts, Isobel Johnson, Dilys Evans, Paul Wishart, Mike Devenney, Ian Napier, Anita Pottinger, Jacqui Clark, Janice Thomason and Annie Nicolson.

It was noted that it had been agreed by the Project Board to hold a series of seminars with Councillors and Trustees.  This would be beneficial as there will be a lot of information to consider.

  • Curriculum – Feedback has been obtained from SQA and Skills Development Scotland and this has been contributed to the policy.  Mike was organising a meeting with Senior Lecturers for when he is next in Shetland
  • Finance – A teleconference had been held with finance advisers for tax advise as part of financial due diligence.  It was raised that when speaking with employees often the concerns relate to pensions.  This was noted and will be looked into
  • Governance – It was noted that UHI has recommended an unincorporated college model
  • Research – Draft research strategy was now in place and meeting with Neil Simco (UHI) had been really useful
  • Human resources – An exercise comparing and contrasting terms and conditions was nearly complete
  • Student engagement, support and marketing –Sorcha Kirker, the HISA Depute President HE had visited to provide support on strudent engagement work stream.  This had included useful discussion about how to link with the National Apprenticeship Union.  Ref. Student support the UHI mental health review was holding a series of meetings which would inform that work stream.  There was also discussion in how to make sure that those accessing short courses were engaged in the project
  • Communications – The information hub had gone live and there were already communications via the feedback form

16th August - Project Team Update

This week’s project team meeting was attended by Tommy Coutts, Isobel Johnson, Dilys Evans, Rory Gillies, Paul Wishart, Mike Devenney, Anita Pottinger, Jacqui Clark, Janice Thomason and Annie Nicolson

  • Curriculum – The draft Learning and Teaching Strategy and Curriculum Plan has been circulated with senior lecturers for comments/feedback
  • Finance – It was hoped financial due diligence would be in place next week.  Tax would be looked at separately.
  • Governance – A document had been circulated and if members of the team had questions or comments they were to email them
  • ICT – It was noted that finance systems must be compatible with SITS
  • Staffing – Benchmarking exercises continuing
  • Student engagement, support and marketing – meetings with front line staff had been completed.  There were needs to ensure data was compatible with SITS and there were issues around the level of manual data entry for staff.  Sorcha Kirker, the HISA Depute President HE would be in Shetland the following week to support the student engagement work stream
  • Communications – Some changes to updates shared on the website had been agreed and there would be final tweaks made to content before it was made live.

9th August – Project Team Update

This week’s project team meeting was attended by Tommy Coutts, Isobel Johnson, Dilys Evans, Rory Gillies, Paul Wishard, Mike Devenney, Anita Pottinger, Jacqui Clark and Annie Nicolson

  • Curriculum – Mike has been in Shetland and meeting with staff to help inform the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Policy.
  • Governance – Information had been received about the process of merger which would be circulated to the Project Team.
  • ICT – Continuing to gather information.
  • Research – Tommy mentioned that he and Ian had met with Professor Neil Simco and that had been a very useful meeting.
  • Staffing – Dilys is continuing her exercise in comparing and contrasting terms and conditions
  • Student engagement, support and marketing – it was noted that the analytical data available from SITS was very informative and demonstrates the importance of digital media
  • Communications – Jacqui had made some changes to the mechanisms to deliver the communications strategy. These would be shared with the Project Board prior to the information hub online going live.  It was also noted that it was hoped to hold a joint staff meeting very soon


2nd August – Project Team Update

This week’s project team meeting was attended by Tommy Coutts, Fiona Tulloch, Isobel Johnson, Dilys Evans, Rory Gillies, Ian Napier, Anita Pottinger, Jacqui Clark, Janice Thomason and Annie Nicolson

  • Curriculum – A Learning and Teaching Strategy has been drafted as well as a Curriculum Plan. It was noted that the Curriculum Plan would lead to an analysis of internal and external variables and pressures.  There was discussion about access and inclusion and the importance of learning programmes reaching our remote communities effectively.
  • Finance – A lot of work has been focussed on the appointment of a company for financial due diligence. There is also a lot of work on gathering information from the work streams to inform financial assumptions and to inform the status quo
  • ICT – Review of existing IT equipment complete. There was discussion on some of the differences in some softwares and different printing arrangements, etc.  It was also noted that the licence fee for Microsoft was going to increase by 50% early next year
  • Research – Ian has been in touch with Mark Sheridan, who has recently started in the Centre for Creative Rural Industries. There would also be a meeting with Neil Simco who is the VP of Research and Impact with UHI
  • Staffing – Dilys was doing work looking through terms and conditions for staff
  • Communications – an online information hub had been prepared to be shared via the website. It was agreed that some further work was required on that
  • Vision, aims and mission – It was aiming to increase student numbers would note always be the most appropriate outcome and everyone agreed it should be about delivering good quality learning.


27th July – Project Team Update

This week’s project team meeting was attended by Tommy Coutts, Fiona Tulloch, Isobel Johnson, Paul Wishart, Rory Gillies, Ian Napier, Anita Pottinger, Jacqui Clark, Alice Mathewson Janice Thomason and Annie Nicolson

  • Business Development – another busy week of meetings. Highlighted meeting with staff from Train Shetland which was really helpful in developing clear understanding on Modern Apprenticeships and Short Course delivery
  • Curriculum – Mike was away this week. Jacqui shared a concern that staff had raised with her on Tuesday re. students on certain FE or NC courses being short of progression qualifications specifically in relation UCAS (applying for degrees).  It was noted it had impacted on circa 75% of students supported with UCAS applications in the last academic year in Shetland.  Jacqui will raise through QIC at College
  • Governance and law – Anderson Strathern have now officially been appointed to undertake due diligence
  • ICT – Have looked at Train Shetland hardware and software and there should be no major issues there
  • Research – Ian has submitted his draft Strategy. It was agreed in the meeting this would be shared with members of the Project team to see if there is links and overlaps with any of the other work streams before Ian progresses to the next stage of his work
  • Student Support, Engagement and Marketing – had meeting with support staff to start exploring solutions from points raised at student/staff away day in June. Also started meetings with admin and front line staff to explore ‘one virtual front door’ in relation to marketing/communications as well possible triage model of support services
  • Vision, aims and mission – these were circulated to team members. These are now available to view here


Staff meeting

There will be a staff meeting in Rom 16, Islesburgh on Wednesday 28th November 2018 at 4pm.


This is where we will share documents that staff or students may find of interest or are published as part of the project (including links to public documents which go to council, etc).  This will include links to national reports published online.