Local Advisory Committees will help ensure local needs continue to be met by UHI North, West and Hebrides

UHI North, West and Hebrides has formed Local Advisory Committees in each of its founding college areas to help ensure the needs of its diverse rural and island communities continue to be met.

Pioneering this innovative addition to the traditional Board of Management arrangements for an incorporated college in Scotland, the Local Advisory Committees will provide a strong link between the Board and the communities in North Highland, Outer Hebrides, and West Highland. 

They will also provide local oversight and accountability, advice, and guidance, 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.  

The North Highland Local Advisory Committee, Outer Hebrides Local Advisory Committee, and West Highland Local Advisory Committee have met twice since forming in November. 

Former board members of the founding colleges and members of the public with an interest in their local area, education or industry were encouraged to apply. 

The committees will meet at least twice a year and reinforce the college’s approach to working in partnership with stakeholders in its local communities. 

Derek Lewis, Chair of the Board of Management of UHI North, West and Hebrides, said: “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 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. We are committed to working with our staff, students, and local communities 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 an excellent student experience, and forge deeper partnerships to respond to the once-in-a-generation economic opportunities in our region.” 

Graham Birnie, Chair of the North Highland Local Advisory Committee, said: “Thurso Technical College, as it was then, provided me with the opportunity to gain an engineering apprenticeship without having to leave home. It led to a rewarding and enjoyable career in the oil and gas industry and gave me the business acumen to give back to UHI North Highland, now UHI North, West and Hebrides. I am pleased to be able to play a role, as Chair of the Local Advisory Committee, in supporting the college to provide local opportunities, which allow people to stay and study in the area and go on to rewarding careers.”  

UHI North, West and Hebrides formed from the merger of UHI North Highland, UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI West Highland on 1 August 2023. 

For more information about our committees, or to find out more about becoming a member, visit: Governance - Local Advisory Committees (uhi.ac.uk)