FOUR more regional colleges - North East Scotland College, Dundee and Angus College, Glasgow Kelvin College and New College Lanarkshire - have been created as the Scottish Government’s further education merger programme continues.
North East Scotland College is made up of Aberdeen and Banff and Buchan colleges, Dundee and Angus colleges have merged into one and Glasgow Kelvin College brings together North Glasgow, Stow and John Wheatley colleges.
Meanwhile, Motherwell and Cumbernauld colleges will become New College Lanarkshire, with Coatbridge College due to unite with them in 2014.
The regionalisation programme is bringing colleges in different parts of the country together as part of wider post-16 education reforms.
The Government says the mergers will deliver efficiency savings and combine teaching expertise.
Education Secretary Michael Russell said: “This is an exciting day with many events being held for staff and students to mark the occasion of these new larger colleges becoming a reality.
“It is a tribute to their hard work - and that of the college boards - that this milestone has been reached.
“The aim of these reforms has always been about making the college sector work for students, communities, staff and employers, and creating opportunities for them to thrive.
“Colleges have a hugely important role in growing our local and national economies by developing people’s skills and getting them ready for work.
“By creating colleges of scale and influence, and combining resources and expertise, we make the journey onto further learning or into work easier.”
John Henderson, chief executive of Colleges Scotland, said: “Today is a milestone for the regionalisation process and marks the creation of Scotland’s newest educational establishments.
“Each of the new colleges is working to strengthen their offering to students and to local and regional employers, driving the Scottish economy as a whole.
“The college sector has gone through an unprecedented period of change and it has done so in a positive and tenacious manner.
“Congratulations to the staff and students of each of these colleges who have worked hard to ensure a smooth and successful transition.”