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Thank you for your interest in the role of Principal and Chief Executive Officer Designate within the new tertiary education centre for Shetland.

Shetland is a unique place to live, work and learn.  Life in Shetland is rich in culture and natural beauty, with warm, spirited people and excellent local services.

Our colleges are at the heart of our community, providing opportunities for learners of all ages to enjoy both highly specialised courses for which we are proud of a strong reputation, and a broad curriculum at all levels, from our close links with schools and local employers to higher education, many vocational qualifications and Modern Apprenticeships.

We are embarking on an ambitious programme of development, drawing together the wealth of skills and experience of three of Shetland’s greatest resources, the NAFC Marine Centre, Train Shetland and Shetland College, to form a new tertiary education centre serving the islands and future generations. Our appointment of a Principal and Chief Executive Officer Designate offers a leadership role which is both challenging and exciting.

As a member of the University of Highlands and Islands network of colleges and a partner in its higher education delivery, Shetland’s new tertiary education centre will encompass centres of excellence in creative textiles and aquaculture; provide marine research services; act as the main provider of continuing professional development for local employers; and help Shetland to meet demand for skills as diverse as engineering and social care.  It is the stepping stone to adult life, further learning and work for our young people.

Our local economy is buoyant. Nevertheless we are going forward aware of the need to be competitive, efficient and entrepreneurial in our approach. This leadership role demands a forward-thinking, committed and experienced individual who will find a strong team of teaching, support and research staff keen to collaborate on a vision for tertiary education in Shetland, along with a group of local people working hard to build a resilient, capable and accessible governance board.

During our recruitment process, the strongest candidates will be invited to get to know board members, staff, students, and Shetland itself. If you have the skills, leadership experience and passionate belief in education for life, work and community, we would love to meet you.


This is the most exciting time to join us to lead tertiary education in Shetland – at the beginning of a new era.

Discussions about merging Shetland’s NAFC Marine Centre, Train Shetland and Shetland College have been on-going for many years, to realise the obvious benefits of efficiency and scale as well as combining our strengths to become more resilient. We are now developing a detailed ministerial business case and preparing for a new structure to make a single tertiary education service a reality.  The links below tell you more about the separate entities that will make up the “new college”. Our ambition is to retain the successful work we all do, and develop it further. The Principal CEO Designate, supported by a Tertiary Education Merger Project Manager and a new Shadow Board, will work together to make this happen – there is scope for your ideas and experience to help shape this work.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is unique in Scotland and one of the few tertiary universities in Europe combining further and higher education through a network of 13 colleges and research institutions.  The University is the Regional Strategic Body with responsibility for provision of a high quality coherent further education provision across the Highlands and Islands and Perth and Kinross.  Our mission is to have a transformational impact on the prospects of our region, its economy, its people and its communities. The University’s strategic vision 2015-2020 captures its progress and achievements to date and forward direction.

In keeping with the University’s mission, the new tertiary education service in Shetland will work closely with industry. NAFC Marine Centre has an important relationship with the fishing and aquaculture industries which form a major part of Shetland’s economy. Train Shetland’s excellent relationship with employers underpins a strong programme of Modern Apprenticeships.  Our creative textile courses contribute to Shetland’s cultural and heritage industries and our far reaching reputation in this field.

However, we must also support public sector development, as the backbone to our communities and as major local employers. Shetland Island Council’s 10 year Partnership Plan and component strategies for economic development, tourism, sport and leisure, health and social care, will necessarily inform our future development. The Shetland NHS workforce requires both new entrants and ongoing continuing professional development. Partners in the Arts and the Third Sector also have a stake in our plans.


You can find out more on Shetland and the NAFC Marine Centre, Shetland College and UHI via the links below.


NAFC Marine Centre: https://www.nafc.uhi.ac.uk/about-us/

Train Shetland: http://www.trainshetland.com/

Shetland College: https://www.shetland.uhi.ac.uk/

UHI: https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/t4-media/one-web/university/about-uhi/strategy-and-planning/strategic-plan-en.pdf

Local strategies / partner organisations

The Role

Principal and Chief Executive Officer Designate
New tertiary education centre for Shetland
Competitive Salary

We are seeking a Principal and Chief Executive officer Designate to lead a new tertiary education college through an exciting time for the sector and the region.

The merger of Shetland College, Train Shetland and the NAFC Marine Centre will see our leading educational resources merged into one, combining expertise on business management, culture and heritage among others, with Scotland’s leading provider of Marine education. The new merged entity will form the most northern partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands, offering a wide range of courses in a unique location.

The College is committed to support the individual, social and economic development of the people, communities and businesses of Shetland by providing inclusive, accessible and relevant vocational and other learning opportunities in a positive and supportive environment.

The ideal candidate will be degree qualified with strong, proven leadership skills and will have extensive senior/strategic management experience working in a complex organisation and with members of a board of management. A demonstrable track record of business and financial management, and strategic leadership is essential, particularly in relation to transformational change and continuous service improvement. The candidate will possess excellent business acumen with the ability to motivate multi professional teams and influence others.

On appointment, it is desirable that the successful candidate will have knowledge of Scottish Government Policy and strategy in education, the Scottish Funding Council’s approach to funding policy and implementation, as well as knowledge of current developments in the FE/HE sector in Scotland.

Further information is available as follows:

How to Apply Section

We trust that you have found the information on this site both useful and informative. For a confidential discussion please contact Donogh O’Brien or Lesley Drew on 0141 212 7555.

To apply, please send a comprehensive submission which should include:

These should be uploaded by clicking here.

Applicants will be shortlisted for interview by matching the details given on their CV and supporting documents against the role description. We would therefore ask applicants to provide clear evidence to show how your experience, skills and knowledge match those requirements.

If you have any issues uploading your application please contact Donna Sweeny on 0141 212 7555.


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