The Principal of Moray College UHI has been outlining the role for education in developing the Moray economy.
In November the Scottish Government granted £300,000 through its Partnership for Continuing Employment (PACE) budget for skills training. Half of this money went to support Skills Development Scotland (SDS) programmes and half to Moray College UHI.
In addition, the College applied for European Social Funding and boosted its individual funding pot to almost £300,000.
The programmes it has developed, which will run until the summer of 2012, are designed specifically to respond to the demands of the local community for training. They have attracted over 500 applications.
Mike Devenney, Principal at Moray College UHI, has been sharing the impacts of the funding with colleagues at the monthly Moray Economic Partnership Board meeting held yesterday in Tomintoul.
He commented: "We are seeing increased opportunities as a result of this funding. The College's role is to ensure that we use our resources wisely and that our objectives are principally aligned with the Moray Economic Strategy. We want to deliver flexible courses which provide skills for people and businesses which match the diverse opportunities emerging in the area.
"Given the College's dual role as a partner in the University of the Highlands and Islands and as a further education college in its own right, the curriculum on offer has considerable depth to it. The College has students at levels from Access 1 to PhD enrolled with it at the present time."
Mr Devenney also highlighted that in addition to the curricular programmes a report has been commissioned by the College into the educational and training needs of local engineering employers.
Jim Royan, Chair of MEP, commented: "Moray is looking at the potential both in developing new sectors and in growing the businesses we have. Specific opportunities are evident within renewable energy, medical science and technology, tourism, creative industries and rural skills. There is much work already underway within Moray College UHI and as economic partners we were delighted to hear how its progress fits with Moray's shared ambitions."
The Moray College UHI programme content
The first programme is now well underway and consisted of 30 or so courses and these have so far attracted 560 applications from 220 separate individuals. The most popular courses by applications include: