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A new economic impact report reveals the economic contribution Lews Castle College UHI makes to the local economy – contributing £24 million and supporting 230 jobs throughout the Outer Hebrides.

The College has a total student body of 2,250 people across its further and higher education courses. The curriculum offering for students is at the heart of the College and it aims to meet the needs and expectations of both students and employers from the Butt to Barra.

With new plans for a campus redevelopment as part of The Islands Deal it is hoped that LCC UHI will further increase its role in the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The proposed redevelopment project will allow the College to deliver training in more flexible and innovative ways as well as meeting the learning needs of individuals, businesses, and communities.

The report, which was commissioned by the University partnership last year, has been produced by the independent consultancy, Biggar Economics. 

The findings also reveal that the partnership’s impact across Scotland has grown by between 20% and 25% since it was last measured in 2010, mainly due to an increase in staff and graduates. The partnership achieved full university status in 2011 and will be celebrating its tenth anniversary in February 2021. 

However, the authors highlight that the University’s value goes beyond its financial contribution, explaining: “The benefits of the university extend beyond the significant gross value added and jobs measures. It supports sustainable and inclusive economic wellbeing and social development in the broadest sense, for people, communities and employers across the region. It supports heritage and culture, the economy, the environment, the regional health sector and it offers pathways through tertiary education that give routes to personal and collective growth and development. 

Lews Castle College Principal Sue Macfarlane said: “This report clearly demonstrates the importance of Lews Castle College to the local economy and community, particularly at this very difficult time.  We fully intend to build on this success, working with our partners across the Western Isles as well as colleagues across the University, to ensure the College is at the centre of the economic recovery of the islands ”

The University of the Highlands and Islands’ economic impact assessment report is available in the publications section of the university’s website.