Consultation on College merger begins

Banff and Buchan College.
Banff and Buchan College.

Consultation on the merger between Banff and Buchan College and Aberdeen College has begun.

The Boards of Management of the two Colleges have now published a consultation document to give students, staff, stakeholders and communities the opportunity to have their say on the upcoming merger.

A timeline for the creation of the new single regional college for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire has been agreed, with a vesting day of November 1, 2013.

The views of students, staff, stakeholders and communities are now being sought to help shape the new College and a number of consultation activities have been identified – the most important of which is the Merger Consultation Document.

The consultation document has been circulated to staff, students and external stakeholders and is available at all College Centres, online at www.connect-2.org or by contacting 01224 612300. The document also includes the Colleges’ thoughts and ambitions as to how a Regional College will benefit the communities they serve.

The Colleges are asking people to take part in this consultation and complete the tear-out response slip within the document or by going online with any suggestions or comments – including a new name for the College – by April 30.

Ken Milroy, who is Regional Lead Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and Chair of the Regional Partnership Board for Aberdeen and Banff & Buchan Colleges, commented: “This is a time of considerable change for the further education sector in Scotland but I am sure that the commitment demonstrated by our College staff, management and Board Members will ensure that the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire region will continue to demonstrate excellence in the delivery of further education in the North East.”

In June 2012, the Scottish Government published recommendations to the way Scottish colleges should be governed following a government-appointed review of Further Education colleges in 2011.

In December 2012, the Boards of Management of Banff and Buchan and Aberdeen Colleges decided unanimously to pursue the option of creating a single college for the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire region.

The two Boards argued that regionalisation would allow the Colleges to pool their expertise and resources and co-ordinate business and support functions, therefore maximising the funds that are available for providing education and training for students.

The Boards also recognised the need to ensure that local access to educational opportunity was preserved across the region and in particular that a broad offer of further education provision remains available in Fraserburgh and surrounding areas.

The new College will continue to serve an extensive geographical area (Aberdeen City: 186 sq km, Aberdeenshire: 6,313 sq km) with its main centres of delivery in Aberdeen and Fraserburgh located 41 miles apart.

The College says it will continue to provide a wide range of education and training opportunities across the region to meet the needs of individuals, communities and employers.

At the end of last year, Banff and Buchan College Students’ Association led a campaign to convince the College’s board to reject a merger with Aberdeen College.

Banff and Buchan students wanted the board to vote in favour of maintaining its distinct identity, saying that a merger with the larger Aberdeen College would result in the rural culture of Banff and Buchan College being lost.

Concerns were also raised about the merger resulting in courses being moved to the city, and that vital travel provisions would be slashed.