Union backs college merger plan

NFU Scotland has given its qualified backing to the proposed merger of the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) with the land-based colleges of Elmwood, Oatridge and Barony.

In a letter to the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Education, Mike Russell, the Union recognises that the merger is likely to deliver the best outcome in providing the agricultural education required by the industry.

However, while it supports the principle in the proposal of developing centres of excellence, the Union believes that land-based colleges must remain able to provide more general education, especially at entry level.

The Union is also concerned about the stability of the new structure were funding to be cut and also the effect it may have on other further education colleges that provide land-based education such as Borders College.

NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker said: “NFU Scotland has a fundamental interest in the future delivery of education, skills and research in the agricultural and land based sectors. We believe there is merit in the proposed merger.”