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My officials met the principal of South Lanarkshire College earlier this week to discuss our recently published consultation paper about the implementation of the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013. Among the issues addressed by the consultation are the future regional arrangements for all the Lanarkshire colleges.
There seems to be a problem with the cabinet secretary’s microphone; I heard barely a word of what he said. I will assume that he was very positive about my local college.
Is the cabinet secretary aware of the excellent work that South Lanarkshire College is doing on youth employment and certificates of work readiness in conjunction with employers such as Burn Stewart Distillers Limited? Will he commend that work? Does he recognise the strategic importance of South Lanarkshire College to the county and to East Kilbride as a member of East Kilbride’s task force?
It is uncommon for me not to be heard, Presiding Officer, as you know.
I answered the question very positively indeed. I pointed out that my officials met the principal of South Lanarkshire College earlier this week to discuss the consultation paper that has been published about the future of the regional college in Lanarkshire. I am well aware of the quality of the work that is undertaken in South Lanarkshire College and I commend the principal and the staff. It is a high-achieving college and it has a great many important links with local employers.
The purpose of regionalisation is to strengthen that type of performance, ensure that a strategic view is taken across the region and ensure that the interaction between the regions works well for Scotland’s learners and its economy. I am quite sure that South Lanarkshire College, in either of the proposed iterations in the consultation, will do that. We now need to have a conversation with colleges in South Lanarkshire and elsewhere about how we take the issue forward.