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Ivan McKee, Scotland’s Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, has today announced £500,000 of Scottish Government funding for seven new college-led innovation projects. The projects, which will see colleges working closely with regional businesses, are designed to support Scotland’s future economy. The money was allocated by the Scottish Funding Council in a competitive, Scotland-wide bidding process.

All seven projects have a firm eye on the future. Three of them address the emerging skills needs created by growing numbers of people moving to electric and hybrid vehicles. In Dundee and Angus, the college is working with industry experts to ensure an efficient transition to the new precision farming methods already made possible by recent advances in agricultural technology.

West College Scotland is teaming up with a hundred forward-looking businesses to develop the skills which will be needed by the engineer of the future. At Forth Valley College, the focus is on the changing nature of healthcare. Over 3,000 care staff could benefit from an ambitious project to increase digital health skills in the sector. Finally, a brand new training hub in Eyemouth will use digital learning resources to ensure that boat building and repair will continue to provide increasingly high-tech jobs in South East Scotland.

Mike Cantlay, Chair of the Scottish Funding Council, said:

“Colleges play a crucial role in Scotland’s innovation economy. I am delighted that the College Innovation Fund is supporting projects with the kind of quality and ambition we have seen and heard about today. They each demonstrate colleges’ ability to respond to the needs of local industries and collectively they have the potential to make a real difference to Scotland’s economy and public services.”

Today’s announcement also includes funding for national college innovation vouchers to encourage first time partnerships between businesses and their regional college.