News Story

Details have been shared about another project in Moray’s Growth Deal bid.

The Moray Growth Deal would see the creation of Moray College UHI Hubs in Elgin to create a modern university town, expected to benefit the wider Moray economy and create new opportunities for young people in the area.

Moray College UHI want to create two hubs in Elgin. One will focus on business and enterprise, the other on creative and digital industries. It is hoped the hubs will provide additional modern facilities to allow the college to expand the services currently provided.

David Patterson, principal of Moray College UHI, said:

“The college’s role as part of the University of the Highlands and Islands is both to lead the development of key programmes within the university, such as Moray School of Art, computing and digital courses, but also to ensure that the people of Moray have access to all the university’s expertise across the region.

“We’ve seen a doubling of the numbers of local people studying university programmes over the past few years and the several hundred people who visited our recent Learning Festival will have picked up a feel for the range of exciting and interesting things that happen in the college.

“However, we’ve reached a stage now where we are very constrained by space, and by the extent to which our existing resources can be used innovatively to make some of these things happen. The hubs would allow us to expand our offering and change the way we engage with the community.”

Rhona Gunn, Moray Council’s Corporate Director for Economic Development, Planning and Infrastructure, said:

“The top four areas most in need of improvement in Moray – as ranked by respondents to our recent survey – were job creation; education facilities; businesses operating in the area; leisure and recreation facilities. The potential of the Moray College UHI Hubs to retain young people in Moray and increase chances for those much needed skills to enter the local workforce is extremely significant. Although the exact make-up of the hubs is very dependent on the Deal we are able to make and the level of funding we are able to secure, this project would bring multiple benefits to the region.”

The Hubs are proposed to include:

  • Creating an entrepreneur’s centre of excellence in Moray to support people to start their own business or expand an existing business.
  • Supporting the development of the proposed Cultural Quarter in Elgin by expanding the work and local impact of the Moray School of Art with a creative and digital industries hub, and by creating progression opportunities in study and work locally for students in the performing arts.

The plans for the College hubs have broad support from local employers, such as Gordon and MacPhail.

Managing Director Ewen Mackintosh said:

“To stop the brain drain of our young people leaving we need to get the right education offering. One of the best things about putting together a bid for the Moray Growth Deal has been the collaboration between business and a broad representation from the public sector, including Moray College UHI. We will have succeeded when more graduates can walk out of Moray College and straight into a job with a local employer. Even better if we can attract students from elsewhere to Moray College UHI to study a course that will ultimately lead to a rewarding career with a Moray business.”

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