Board of Management recruitment increases representation from the Outer Hebrides

A former Comhairle director of education has joined the Board of Management of UHI North, West and Hebrides as its Vice Chair.

UHI North, West and Hebrides launched a recruitment campaign earlier this year to increase representation from people living in the Outer Hebrides on its Board of Management. 

William Macdonald, a former Director of Education, Skills and Children’s Services at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has joined the board as Vice Chair, along with Rupert Marshall, a member of the South Uist Business Impact Group. 

Both members will join the Board of Management in Stornoway on Wednesday 1 May for a public session, where members of the public can meet the Board, alongside members of a newly formed Local Advisory Committee for the Outer Hebrides. The ‘Meet the Board’ session will run from 4pm and 5pm at the Stornoway campus and provide an opportunity to find out more about the college and its work in the Outer Hebrides.

Mr Macdonald, who lives in North Uist, said: “I am very pleased to be joining the Board of Management. There’s lots of excellent work going on and I’m looking forward to working with the college on developing its offer to meet the needs of our community. I have a particular interest in Gaelic and hope to build on the expertise within the college, as well as support partnerships with the various agencies, employers, and local skills and training teams in the islands. There are many exciting economic developments in our islands and the college will be key in supporting these developments by equipping people in our community with the skills needed for employment.”

In addition to ensuring the new college's Board of Management has membership that is representative of our local communities, a Local Advisory Committee for each of the three legacy operating areas of the merged college - North Highland, West Highland, and Outer Hebrides - has been established.

Pioneering this innovative addition to the traditional Board arrangements for an incorporated college in Scotland, the Local Advisory Committees help provide a strong link with the Board of Management. They will provide the Board with local oversight and accountability, advice, and guidance on ensuring the college's provision meets the needs of local students, communities, and employers, and that the college is linked into all relevant local developments, opportunities and partnerships.

UHI North, West and Hebrides’ Local Advisory Committee for the Outer Hebrides has already met twice since forming in November. It is chaired by Joanna Peteranna, Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Area Manager for the Outer Hebrides. Other members include Donald MacIver, a retired HR director, Paul Finnegan, a Councillor for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Susan MacRae, Area Manager for Skills Development Scotland, and Donald Macleod, Chief Officer for Education and Children’s Services at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. View the full list of members.

Derek Lewis, Chair of the Board of Management of UHI North, West and Hebrides, said: “I am delighted that we will have the benefit of both William and Rupert as board members from the Outer Hebrides. William brings extensive experience to the role of Vice Chair, as a former teacher and education leader, as well as local knowledge of working and living on the islands. Rupert brings both local knowledge and extensive academic experience. They will both play a critical role in ensuring local needs continue to be met.

“Advisory committee members will help the Board of Management by providing advice and guidance on local learning needs, strategic opportunities and priority projects, reinforcing our approach to working in partnership with stakeholders in local communities. We committed to creating Local Advisory Committees as part of our business case for merger. They are now established, with strong representation from key local stakeholders including staff and student representatives, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, DYW Developing the Young Workforce, Focus North, Highland Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.”

Lydia Rohmer, Principal and Chief Executive of UHI North, West and Hebrides, added: "We have been working hard to ensure we have strong local representation at Board level and also through our pioneering Local Advisory Committees, which will have oversight of our work, provide valuable feedback and local accountability. We are working through a transformational change programme, to create the right organisational structure for our newly merged college which can provide the sustainable conditions for future growth, to help realise the strategic opportunities for our communities and region, in particular, the many economic opportunities currently presenting in the Outer Hebrides. We are committed to working with our staff, students, and local communities in the Outer Hebrides to develop our learning offer to meet local needs, provide high quality education and training as well as world-class research and knowledge exchange, develop modern facilities to attract students, develop an excellent student experience, and forge deeper partnerships to respond to the once-in-a-generation economic opportunities in our region.”

Joanna Peteranna, Chair of the Outer Hebrides Local Advisory Committee, said: “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Local Advisory Committee to provide local input as the college delivers on its plans. This is a time of enormous opportunity for the Highlands and Islands and the committee will help to ensure that the needs of the local economy and the workforce of the future can be met.”

UHI North, West and Hebrides is already playing a key role in transformation projects across the Outer Hebrides. Its curriculum offer for the 2024-2025 academic year widens access to learning opportunities in the Outer Hebrides, while its Campus Redevelopment Project, one of several projects under the Islands Growth Deal, will enhance the facilities and resources available to students and increase access to education across the islands.

The college is also a partner of Renewable Energy: Major Development Forum and is working with onshore and offshore wind developers to support training, education and supply chain opportunities. It’s also supporting an increasing number of engineering apprenticeships, delivering STEM activities across the islands, and leading the promotion of Gaelic language, learning, heritage, culture and music through Cnoc Soilleir and its joint venture with Ceòlas Uibhist. Consultation on the college’s first Gaelic Language Plan will get underway on Monday 22 April.

More information about our board of management, or local advisory committee, or find out more about becoming a member.