A new beginning as colleges merge

Launch of the new North East Scotland College in Fraserburgh.
Launch of the new North East Scotland College in Fraserburgh.

Following months of preparations, Banff and Buchan College and Aberdeen College merged on Friday, November 1, to form a new organisation.

The two colleges of further education, which are based on campuses 40 miles apart, have formed a partnership and will be known as North East Scotland College.

The regionalisation of the two colleges was marked last week at special ceremonies at the Henderson Road campus in Fraserburgh and at the Aberdeen Town and County Hall in Aberdeen.

New Principal of the College Rob Wallen opened the ceremony in Fraserburgh and spoke about the recent accomplishments of both of the colleges, as well as their shared plans for the future.

Mr Wallen then introduced Ken Milroy, who was elected as the chair of the new College Board on Monday. Ken Milroy has been heavily involved with the merger process over the past 18 months.

Following the speeches, the new logo for the merged college was unveiled - a dynamic design reflecting the distinct geography of the area the college serves.

The opening ceremony enjoyed a good turnout with a host of officials, community representatives, MSPs and councillors from Fraserburgh, Central Buchan and Peterhead in attendance.

The new North East Scotland College (NESCOL) will serve an extensive geographical area with its main centres of delivery in the Broch and Aberdeen.

For many years, the two colleges have shared a commitment to provide opportunities for the people of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and have worked together on numerous projects and initiatives to fulfil that commitment.

By merging, Banff and Buchan College and Aberdeen College now hope to combine expertise, facilities and resources in a way that best serves the region.

Rob Wallen, who takes up his new post as the first Principal and Chief Executive of North East Scotland College said: “On this Vesting Day, we have good cause to feel proud of what the merged college can offer to North East Scotland.

“We are in a very strong position – great facilities, a wide range of provision, skilled and enthusiastic staff, a large motivated student body and strong partnerships.

“The creation of North East Scotland College is really the continuation of a journey towards a fully integrated service for providing vocational education and training across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

“We know that what we have as a result is a strong organisation that can make a real impact in the region and we are confident about our role in the future.”

Ken Milroy, Regional College Lead and the Chair Designate of the Board of North East Scotland College, said: “The process of merger itself is complete but we know this is only the end of the beginning.

“We have much work to do to integrate the two organisations and maximise the opportunities that the merger will bring - building on the existing strengths of each, enriching the curriculum offer, creating even stronger links with our local partners and contributing to national debates and developments relating to skills and the economy where we will be a powerful voice for our region.”

Christian Allard MSP commented: “It is a privilege to be here at the beginning of the next stage of this college’s life.

“This college will continue to provide high quality lifelong learning opportunities relevant to the needs of students, employers and communities in the region.

“Fraserburgh’s commitment to high quality education for the people of the North East has a bright future.

“That future begins now and it begins here with the opening of the North East Scotland College.”

Commenting, Peterhead North and Rattray Councillor Fiona McRae added: “The merger will of course pose challenges for everyone involved, but they will be overcome and this college will work for the people of the North East.”