Principal and Chief Executive Officer

About Us

North Highland College UHI is a dynamic and ambitious organisation delivering both further and higher education as a partner of the UK’s leading integrated university, the University of the Highlands and Islands. As one of the key partners in the university, this unique combination of a federated structure is balanced alongside a local commitment and focus.

Located in Thurso in the county of Caithness; North Highland College UHI first opened in 1959 as Thurso Technical College to serve the training needs for Dounreay Nuclear Power Plant, located 10 miles from the Thurso Campus. North Highland College UHI has seen many changes over the years with the curriculum and geographic coverage expanding significantly. The college has grown the original campus in Thurso with the addition of our Environmental Research Centre (ERI); and our Engineering, Technology and Energy Centre (ETEC), both of which are located on our Thurso site. Our Rural Studies Centre, based near the village of Halkirk in Caithness, currently hosts our Equestrian; Veterinary Nursing; and Gamekeeping provisions. Our campuses in Alness and Dornoch provide a variety of courses in the counties of Ross-shire and Sutherland, the latter of which is currently going through a multi-million pound re-development which will provide our Professional Golf, and Professional Cookery and Hospitality students, with state-of-the-art training facilities.

North Highland College UHI makes a significant contribution to the delivery of learning in the North Highlands, as well as national and international reach as part of the regional university structure. The college currently enrols; 385 full-time FE students; 808 part-time FE students; 323 full-time HE students: and 286 part-time HE students on programs ranging from National 4 to Honours Degrees as well as Apprenticeship programmes. We have ambitious targets for growth set against a sustainable financial position.

The College delivers one of the widest ranging curricula in Scotland at all levels from basic vocational skills to university Masters Degrees and Doctorates.

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Employer links

Our excellent employer links help to ensure that our curriculum matches local and regional skills needs and provides valuable work experience opportunities, as well as Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeship opportunities. Some of the employers we work with are noted below:

  • Dounreay
  • Rolls Royce
  • JGC Engineering
  • Beatrice Offshore Wind Ltd
  • Global Energy
  • Port of Nigg

About the Area

The Highlands and Islands covers some 15,000 square miles - more than half of Scotland. Of the 448,000 people who live here, half are under 44. The region is also home to more than 8,000 voluntary and community groups, and over 21,000 businesses - many of them well-known global brands. The northern mainland counties of Scotland, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross-shire frequently place as some of the most desirable places to live in Scotland and feature highly in quality of life indexes as some of the best in the UK.

Our largest campus is based in Thurso, nestled between the beautiful surroundings of landward Caithness and the rugged Scottish North Coast, home to some of the best surf in the world. The area hosts large employers such as the Dounreay and the Ministry of Defence’s Vulcan facility, making the town a diverse settlement but one with a long and storied past. As the region continues to diversify from the nuclear industry, the decades of research and engineering experience is now being used extensively within the renewable energy space. Developments such as Beatrice Offshore Wind Limited (BOWL) are employing a new generation of carbon neutral professionals from their dedicated service base in Wick.

Also covering Sutherland and Easter Ross within the Colleges catchment area, North Highland College has campuses in Alness (Easter Ross) and in Dornoch (Sutherland), the world-renowned golfing destination. Close working with the professional golf community has uniquely placed the North Highland College in the provision of courses for the gold industry, including a sector leading initiative with the PGA.

Travel around Caithness, Sutherland and Ross is stress-free and simple, not being a City based institution ensures there are no traffic jams and tailbacks, with much of the inter campus travel being on the North Coast 500 route! Outwith day-to-day travel, the Far North is well connected, with a local airport and direct rail and bus links to Inverness, the Highland capital. From Inverness, there are numerous onward travel options to the central belt of Scotland and down London. Inverness Airport, the region’s international hub, serves destinations including England, Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. So is very well connected.

Locals know that the Far North offers an unrivalled quality of life. The Highlands provide a pleasant and safe environment in which to live, a varied cultural life and first-rate educational opportunities in an idyllic setting. The region is uniquely placed at the heart of a number of programmes backed by the local Council, Scottish Government and the UK Government, making it an exciting place to do business and create new jobs. The Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Programme (CNSRP), includes projects such as the Sutherland Space Port and tidal energy projects that are world leading, with the College playing an important role in delivering the skills needed to see these projects coming to fruition.

As well as having a world-renowned education system and more world class universities per head of population than anywhere else in the world, Scotland has lots to offer especially in the Highlands and Islands. Caithness provides you with a perfect base from which to experience the Scottish Highlands and Islands. From stunning scenery and adventure sports to haunting castles and spectacular landscapes, there are plenty of attractions for you to experience.