MSP visits college for future talks

HOLYROOD came to Angus College this week when the education secretary met college staff and students in what has been described as “extremely open and positive discussions”.

Cabinet Secretary for education and lifelong learning Mike Russell MSP met with college representatives on Tuesday afternoon to discuss changes in 2012 to further education.

The topics revolved around the budget cuts of a further 10 per cent being made at Angus College in the new year, and the implications this will have on staffing, student places and services.

Angus South MSP Graeme Dey was at the meeting. He said: “I was pleased to be able to help facilitate a meeting in which the education secretary had extremely open and positive discussions with management, union representatives and student representatives at Angus College.”

Earlier in the week student representatives delivered their Christmas wish list to Graeme Dey MSP, making their position quite clear.

Student representative Gary Paterson said: “On the eve of the Education Minister’s visit to Angus College, we delivered a ‘Christmas Wish List’ to our local MSPs’ offices which asks them to support the ‘Our Future Our Fight’ campaign and protect colleges. “We hope that our MSPs and Mike Russell will fulfil our wish list and ensure that education quality, student places, local access to courses and student support at Angus are protected.”

Fellow student representative and campaign officer Katie Mew said: “We are happy to welcome Mr Russell to Angus College so he can see for himself what a vital role it plays in the community.

“With the damaging cuts that the college sector is facing, we seek clarification from Mr Russell over maintaining the quality of education that we receive.”

Multi-cultural officer Tatiana Zorina added: “I will be looking for Mr Russell to explain how mergers will benefit students, the Scottish Government is not alone in finding these times hard. We are counting every penny in our pocket, we cannot afford to go and study in another city to a merged college.”

A spokesperson for Angus College said: “This was a valuable opportunity to discuss some of the great work being done by the Angus College staff and students, especially in terms of public value, quality, employability, community links and particularly work with the priority 16-19 year old age group.

“It was also an opportunity to discuss the Reform Agenda with staff and student representatives and its effects on both Scotland’s colleges and Angus College.

“The principal and chair were very pleased to have had an opportunity to put forward their views on ways to manage the draft Budget cuts to colleges in a way that would reduce the effects on future students.”