THE opening of the new Edinburgh College has moved a step closer after Scottish ministers signed off on the plan.
The new institution will be created through a merger of Stevenson, Telford and Jewel & Esk colleges to create one of Scotland’s biggest further education bases.
And the government announcement came as Edinburgh College launches its new logo, just in time for the arrival of the 35,000-strong student body at the start of their 2012/13 courses.
Scottish ministers have signed the parliamentary order which clears the path for Edinburgh College to move to its launch, or “vesting day”, on October 1.
The college will accommodate the biggest student body in Edinburgh and will be one of the largest further education colleges in the UK.
It will consist of four main campuses employing more than 1500 staff; Granton, formerly Telford College; Sighthill, formerly Stevenson College; and Milton Road and Midlothian, both formerly Jewel & Esk College.
The first students to arrive at the campuses have been presented with identity cards bearing the new logo, which represents the brand values of “ambition and innovation”.
The logo consists of three squares which represent the original three colleges, bringing them together under the Edinburgh College brand.
Ian McKay, chair (elect) of Edinburgh College, said that after months of planning and discussion, the college was now very close to becoming a reality. He said: “Our new logo and the approval of Scottish ministers provide the clearest landmarks yet to announce that the college is real and will be happening.
“The new Edinburgh College is firmly focused on changing the face of further education in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
“Edinburgh College will be good for the Capital, good for the businesses with whom we will work hand-in-hand to provide skilled staff and good for the communities which it will serve. Our key commitment is to put students first – to improve options for students looking for vocational and educational courses to make it easier than ever to find work or progress to higher education.
“We are now counting down to the launch day and looking forward to unveiling Edinburgh College to the world.”
The creation of the logo, which includes red, orange and blue to represent the three colleges, involved research by a shadow board who enlisted staff and students across the existing colleges for meetings and focus groups to shape the final design. They said feedback from those staff and students issued with ID cards bearing the new logo had been positive.
Jacob Steele, 21, from Edinburgh, who is studying sound production at the Milton Road campus, said: “The integration of the three colleges is a great idea. It allows us to network with the other colleges and students and gives us easier access to a wider range of courses and more options to further our studying.”
The new college has faced some criticism, however, with news that more than 200 jobs are expected to be cut as part of the merger plans.