Princess Anne opens new Portree college campus

Princess Anne visited Skye on Monday to officially open the new West Highland College UHI building in Portree.

The recently-refurbished college campus on Struan Road is now home to over 70 students, with building work having been completed in time for the start of the new term.

The Princess Royal, who is Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, visited the college on Monday, meeting staff and students and unveiling a plaque commemorating the official opening.

Speaking at the event, Dr Michael Foxley, chair of West Highland College UHI, thanked the Princess Royal and all those involved in achieving the build in such a short time. He said: “This building signifies a major step change for tertiary education on Skye and a huge increase in opportunity for school leavers on the island and for the economy throughout Skye.”

Among the full-time courses now available in Portree are hairdressing; professional cookery; art; early education and childcare; child, health and social care administration; construction; and access to higher education. A new training unit for business, enterprise solutions and training offers courses of particular interest to businesses and for continuous professional development.

In addition, the college also offers a range of Highers, employability programmes, leisure classes and courses for those with profound and complex needs, as well a range of higher education and degree courses through a combination of video conferencing, virtual learning environments and personal tutor support.

Lydia Rohmer,  principal and chief executive of West Highland College UHI, said: “We are excited by the possibilities that this will open up to learners on Skye and the wider communities of the West Highlands, with the college in Portree providing new pathways for further and higher education, for employability programmes and for for business training throughout the area.

“Staff have worked incredibly hard to move into the new building and open our doors to students this September on an extremely challenging timescale. We are now very much looking forward to enjoying the facilities and to opening our doors to as many students as possible and interested parties from the community and from businesses in the area in the coming weeks and months.”