Borders College (Meetings)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 10th March 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Lamont John Lamont Conservative

3. To ask the Scottish Executive when the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning last met the principal of Borders College. (S3O-13203)

Photo of Angela Constance Angela Constance Scottish National Party

The First Minister and the previous Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, Keith Brown, have enjoyed visits to Borders College. I have yet to meet the principal of the college, but I look forward to an early opportunity to do so.

Photo of John Lamont John Lamont Conservative

The minister will be aware of the difficult decisions that the college has to make because of the reduction in its funding, which include a number of staff cuts. Having spoken to the principal yesterday, I know that she believes that, despite those changes, the college will continue to work hard to deliver the Scottish Government’s priorities.

Does the minister agree that our colleges and universities are critical to ensuring that our workers have the skills that the Scottish economy needs as it emerges from the economic downturn, and that it is therefore unfortunate that the Scottish Government has not put in place a sustainable funding future for colleges and universities to secure those skills?

Photo of Angela Constance Angela Constance Scottish National Party

I am very much aware of the difficulties that Borders College, like other colleges, is experiencing, and I appreciate that it must make savings of around £785,000. I share the member’s concern and join him in recognising that Borders College is committed to maintaining student numbers and ensuring minimal disruption to the learner.

With respect to Mr Lamont, I hope that he will also take his concerns to the United Kingdom Tory Government in London, given the savage cuts that we are experiencing. That said, I am politically and personally committed to ensuring that we find a way forward for all of Scotland’s colleges, and I am listening very closely to the 41 colleges across the sector that are calling for change.