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North Highland College earns highest award for Covid-19 safety measures

By Alan Hendry

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ETEC director Giles Huby, who is responsible for leading health and safety matters at North Highland College UHI.
ETEC director Giles Huby, who is responsible for leading health and safety matters at North Highland College UHI.

North Highland College UHI has been awarded the highest level of assurance after undergoing an audit of its Covid-19 safety arrangements.

College bosses say they are delighted to have received such a positive endorsement after an "extremely challenging period" for staff and students in Thurso, Alness and Dornoch.

The audit, carried out towards the end of 2020 by auditors Wylie & Bisset, focused mainly on reviewing three areas:

  • The steps taken by the college to assess its compliance with Scottish Government guidance
  • The working documents, risk assessments and procedures that the college has put in place to allow the return of students and staff
  • The communications methods between the college and its staff and students in respect of Covid-19

Several areas of good practice were highlighted, including communicating important preventative measures through risk assessments, posters and planning documents reflecting the Scottish Government lockdown route map; involving staff in the process at business continuity management meetings; and sharing best practice with health and safety practitioners across the other UHI colleges.

Giles Huby, director of the Engineering, Technology and Energy Centre (ETEC) in Thurso, is responsible for leading health and safety matters at the college.

He said: “This has been an extremely challenging period for all of our staff and students across all North Highland College UHI sites – in Thurso, Alness and Dornoch – so we are extremely pleased to receive such a positive endorsement of our Covid-19 safety management approach.

"It is very satisfying to see that our team’s hard work in developing and applying all the safety measures needed to successfully reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission has been recognised by the result of this audit.”

Debbie Murray, interim North Highland College UHI principal, said: “Covid measures are well under control with high-quality learning continuing.I am delighted with the good safety practices recognised in our response to Covid-19 for a number of our processes that we can now share with the rest of the sector.

"The safety of our students and staff is paramount and we will continue to ensure their safety is always put first. Everyone involved has gone the extra mile and should be congratulated. It should give confidence for prospective students who are unsure of applying to college, that they will receive a high quality of learning regardless of any continuing restrictions.”

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