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Tories plan national virtual college to boost sector after SNP ‘neglect’

Scottish Conservative leader Meghan Gallacher spoke about her party’s proposals during a visit to Ayrshire College in Ayr.

The Scottish Conservatives hope to establish a national virtual college to help rural students learn the skills they need.

Deputy leader Meghan Gallacher said the Tories want to “revive” Scotland’s college sector after “years of neglect” at the hands of the Scottish Government.

As well as plans for a virtual National College of Scotland – which Tories say would be similar to the Open University – the Conservatives also say they would work with industry to create a National Skills Strategy for Scotland.

Ms Gallacher outlined the proposals during a General Election campaign visit to Ayrshire College’s Ayr campus to learn about the apprenticeships it offers students, including those which can help learners into a career in the aerospace industry.

However she said that at the moment, “Scotland’s college sector is in crisis due to systemic underfunding by the SNP Government”.

The Tory MSP said cuts to funding for the sector “pose an existential threat to Scotland’s colleges” but also risk creating a “shortage of young people with the skills that employers need”.

She said: “The Scottish Conservatives are committed to properly funding apprenticeships and ensuring that funding is directed towards the areas of greatest workforce need.

“We would do this by working with industry to create a National Skills Strategy.

“The Scottish Conservatives are also committed to establishing a virtual National College of Scotland – similar to the Open University but for further education – so that those living in rural and remote areas can still acquire the skills they, and employers, need.

“Our plans would revive Scotland’s colleges after years of SNP neglect.”

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