North Highland College No Plans Yet In Place To Deal With Serious Financial Problems
4th June 2019
Colleges' financial challenges increase.
The Audit Scotland report published today (4th June 2019) shows North Highland college is only one of several colleges not to have any financial plan in place to deal with a growing deficit.
In respect to North Highland College the report specifically points at areas of concern -
The college reported a small underlying surplus of £0.1 million in 2017-18 but faces several key risks to its financial sustainability.
* The college has previously required cash advances from its regional body, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). It is forecasting a cumulative underlying deficit of £2.5 million by 2022-23 (equivalent to around 16 per cent of current costs) and a negative cash-flow position from 2019-20 onwards.
* The college has loans of £1.3 million and in 2017-18 relied on waivers from its bank to avoid breaching loan covenants. At the time of the annual audit, the college did not have an agreed financial plan in place to achieve the required savings in both the short and longer term.
* The auditor highlighted the need for more detailed interaction between the college and UHI as savings plans are developed. The college has once began a curriculum review, with a view to achieving savings for the 2019-20 budget. However, the college anticipates that it may require financial support from UHI, in the form of cash advances, for 2019-20.
The financial challenges facing Scotland's college sector have increased, says the spending watchdog.
An increase in Scottish Government funding to colleges will cover only the costs of making staff pay and conditions consistent across the sector. Meanwhile, money allocated for buildings and infrastructure will fall short of the estimated costs of maintaining the college estate.
Most colleges are forecasting deficits in the next five years, as the gap between their income and expenditure continues to widen. Only a small number of these colleges were found to have identified specific actions to deal with shortfalls.
Despite these challenges, student numbers have increased, and the sector continues to exceed its learning activity targets. However, there is wide sector variation in measures of student success, such as numbers completing their course or getting a job. And there is room for clearer Scottish Funding Council reporting on colleges' peformance, including around student satisfaction figures.
Caroline Gardner, the Auditor General for Scotland, said:"Colleges are increasingly dependent on public funding to cover their costs, and it is likely that the gap between their income and spending will continue to widen without action.
"Tighter budgets make financial planning even more important. Colleges and the Scottish Funding Council need to do more to ensure they are as well-prepared as possible to deal with ongoing pressures."
Read the full report at https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/report/scotlands-colleges-2019
The Principal and Chief Executive of North Highland College UHI has announced his intention to the Board of Management to retire from his post on September 30th 2020. Mr Donald MacBeath, a native to Caithness, has held a number of positions across the college, starting as a lecturer in the mid 1980's and progressing to Assistant Principal and Vice Principal before accepting his post as College Principal in June 2014.
Updates for students, staff and visitors Update March 17: North Highland College UHI is to suspend the delivery of face to face teaching from close of business today, Tuesday 17 March at 5pm, moving to the delivery of teaching and learning online to help reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus within our communities. Students local course leaders will be in touch to explain how this will affect students directly and to communicate how they plan to continue teaching and assessment arrangements.
Aspiring engineers in the north highlands will benefit from a new apprenticeship pathway developed by North Highland College UHI and JGC Engineering. The new pathway has been created to promote the value of employer engagement and the benefit of the skills, learning and experience gained at college.
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The first Norwegian style learning centre in the UK was officially opened in Thurso today Monday 25th March 2019. Newton Rooms are designed to inspire more young people to become interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and encourage them to study these subjects in school and beyond.
This course is designed for managers and businesses owners to develop their skills in interpreting business documents to use them for business planning. 9.00AM Fri 22 March 2019 to 4.30PM Fri 22 March 2019 Cost £135 Finance for Non Finance Managers:.
North Highland college have two information evenings next week for Scottish Apprenticeship week to promote the Foundation Apprenticeships available to pupils in Thurso and Wick at North Highland College UHI. Entry is FREE..
North Highland College. Saturday 9th February 2019..
The prospects of those qualifying through Highlands and Islands colleges are continuing to increase according to the Scottish Funding Council's annual College Leaver Destinations report. The publication, released last week, reports on the destinations of those who left college in the 2016 to 2017 academic year.
Join the North Highland College UHI Board of Management to help shape education across the Highlands and Islands. North Highland College UHI is a partner in the University of the Highlands and Islands and a leading college of further and higher education offering training, education and skills development opportunities from access to PhD level.