Local college announces merger plans

ARBROATH-based Angus College has announced plans to begin a merger with Dundee College.

The boards of both institutions met last week and came to the decision which they say will be the best way forward to serve learners in their local communities.

A merger would see a brand new college for 35,000 students created for the Dundee and Angus region, which is part of the Scottish Government’s regionalisation agenda.

Angus College, which is based on Keptie Road, say now the colleges will seek to build on their strengths and continue to serve the educational needs of their diverse community.

They also said they hoped the move will improve student experience, recognise the commitment of their highly professional staff and operate within government funding guidelines.

Kish Srinivasan, who is leading the merger for the Dundee and Angus region, assured those currently studying or hoping to study at the college, that they would be the main priority.

He said: “Learners have always come first for both colleges and their interests will remain at the forefront as we strive together to create the best possible opportunities for our communities in the future.”

The further education sector has already been threatened with budget cuts by Holyrood with both students and teaching unions raising fears over job losses.

Last year the Unison union handed over a petition to the Scottish Parliament against college cuts and any mergers.

And former Angus College student representative Gary Paterson, who attended the college at the time also started a petition against any possible merger.

Last December he said: “I am concerned that in the event of a merger a large part of provision may not be supported locally.

“For those with family and work commitments tied into geography it has the potential to take opportunities away.

“If any provision were to be moved from Angus it would greatly affect a large amount of students and of course the local community and economy.”

A plan is now been drawn up on how the merger will move forward and it will be revealed over the coming months.

At present Angus College has 11,500 students and has outreach centres in Brechin, Montrose, Kirriemuir and Forfar as well as the base in Arbroath.

The Scottish Government have been encouraging the country’s 41 colleges to work together more.