FM opens North Highland College renewables hubs

GIBSON WELCOMES NEW NORTH HIGHLAND COLLEGE ENERGY HUBS

ONLY A STRONG HIGHER EDUCATION SECTOR CAN POWER SCOTLAND’S FUTURE

SNP MSP Rob Gibson has today welcomed the establishment of two new renewable energy hubs at North Highland College in Thurso.

First Minister Alex Salmond this afternoon officially opened the hubs – the Engineering, Technology and Energy Centre and the Centre for Energy and the Environment – which will play a key role in Scotland’s growing marine energy industry.

Mr Gibson has said that Scotland can only maximise the benefits of our vast renewables potential with the right skills base – at that means ensuring education is available to all, and not just those who can afford it.

Commenting, Mr Gibson – MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross - said:

“These new hubs form just part of North Highland College’s continued expansion, which is set to play a key part in the reindustrialisation of Scotland.

“I have been in discussions with the Environmental Research Institute at the College recently, and I am absolutely clear that we need to ensure that academia and developers are not continuously re-inventing the wheel.

“That’s why anything we can be doing to ensure that colleges are working more closely with industry is to be welcomed.

“And this is just one example highlighting why the SNP’s cast-iron commitment to free higher education is so important.

“We now have record numbers of Scots students at Scottish universities – and this month we have seen that these numbers are remaining resilient in the face of significant drops elsewhere in the UK, as a result of the Westminster Government’s decision to charge £9,000 a year for fees.

“We will only maximise Scotland’s vast and exciting renewables potential if we have the very best skilled workforce to drive forward the reindustrialisation of Scotland – and we can only get the very best by ensuring our education is based on ability to learn, not on ability to pay.”

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