SFC news published since 2018. See SFC archived content for earlier news articles.

Rufus Logan, SFC’s Assistant Director for Capital and Climate Change, explains the part the new College Infrastructure Strategy is playing in creating the thriving college estates of the future.

I believe our colleges have never been more important to Scotland than they are now.

Colleges are a key asset in our nation’s response to the environmental and economic challenges we are now facing. Without colleges it is not possible to respond to the climate emergency in the manner that government policies require. Colleges enable our most important asset – us, and especially the young – to respond positively to these challenges, and to deliver lasting economic transformation.

To respond effectively requires a thriving college and university infrastructure that enables students to answer the needs of government, business, science and technology and communities across Scotland.

I am therefore excited by the publication of the College Infrastructure Strategy. Developed in consultation with the college sector, the strategy describes a collaborative approach to determining the future investment needs of Scotland’s college estate and other college infrastructure. In doing so, it paves the way for the development of an infrastructure investment plan for Scotland’s colleges.

Our ambition is for a college estate that delivers a high quality, technologically advanced and sustainable learning environment. This will be key to enabling and enhancing successful learning and skills outcomes for students, staff, and all other communities.

We recognise the need for investment in our college infrastructure, but we must invest wisely. The strategy sets out principles that help inform the work to develop an investment plan. The most important principle is that our colleges estate delivers positive student experience and outcomes and provides equitable access across Scotland to infrastructure that is fit for purpose.

Any investment must enable colleges to deliver their strategic plans, respond to future needs (including digital delivery) and should not restrict itself to the replacement of like for like. It is widely recognised that the shape and size of the overall estate will change as colleges invest in digital and  collaborate more closely with others such as other colleges, schools, universities, local authorities, and health care providers.

Ultimately, investment will need to be made available and flexible funding solutions provided if we are to support the diverse types and scales of capital projects that will come forward. This strategy is our approach to developing an infrastructure investment plan and is a call for collaborative action in the knowledge that if successful, our efforts will reap rewards across Scotland and for future generations.