Universities, Education and Skills

With its renowned education system and high ratio of graduates per capita, Scotland surpasses most countries of similar size in Europe.

The Highlands and Islands is served by a first rate education system

The growth and development of the universities, education and skills sector in the our region is critical to the long term success of the regional economy.

What we do

Our objectives for the universities, education and skills sector are to:

  • Increase the number of students studying in our region with a focus on retention and attracting young talent into the Highlands and Islands, to address our demographic imbalance;
  • Work with partner agencies to develop a skilled workforce in our region ready to respond to the needs of our key industries;
  • Oversee the implementation of the HIE-led talent attraction strategy, working closely with the Convention of the Highlands and Islands;
  • Support the development of location specific Campuses in the region;
  • Deliver a regional wide Science Skills Academy;
  • Support the development and growth of the University of the Highlands and Islands – focusing on knowledge exchange, research and entrepreneurial activity;
  • Optimise university engagement with businesses and communities to create a stronger culture of innovation and commercialisation;
  • Increase the number of universities that have either a location or deliver projects/activities in the region.

The Highlands and Islands is home to:




Colleges and research institutions which make up the UHI


learning centres



Connecting With Business

Interface connects businesses to the right academic expertise for increased innovation leading to the creation and development of new products, services and processes.

More here


The Highlands and Islands has a strong labour market and skills base. We support the development of sustainable and high quality opportunities through inclusive lifelong learning and skills development across all age demographics.

Find out more on Skills Development Scotland
University Web 5


Our region offers an increasingly wide range of career opportunities through the vibrant development of our key sectors. We support initiatives to retain young people in the Highlands and Islands whilst recognising the need to continue to attract well qualified people of working age to this region.

Our current focus is on increasing the promotion of current and future opportunities, attracting new talent to the area, re-attracting those who left and are likely to return.

Our strategy

The Highlands and Islands Talent Attraction Strategy aims to:

  • Increase the number of working age people living and working in the region;
  • Reverse the forecast decline in population while re-balancing from aging to young/working age residents by achieving year on year positive net migration;
  • Ensure that businesses located in (or locating into) the Highlands and Islands are able to access an appropriate scale and scope of skilled future talent;
  • Develop a co-ordinated approach across the Highlands and Islands to talent attraction and retention.


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