Scotland's three further education organisations have joined together to create a single voice for the sector. The Employers' Association, the Association for Colleges Scotland and the Association for Principals of Colleges in Scotland have formed a new company, the Association of Scottish Colleges.
John Sellars of the ASC, former chief executive of the Employers Association, said it would be a lobbying group, representing the sector's views to Government and other bodies, and would also be responsible for drawing up education and training policies and offering industrial relations services to colleges.
"The first board meeting will be in September, and one of the first things we will be looking at is how we relate to similar organisations south of the border," he said.
The work of the Scottish branch of the Assocation for College now came under the ASC, he said, but links with the AFC in England and the College Employers Forum would continue.
"We don't want to reinvent Hadrian's Wall, because there are areas where we would want to work particularly closely with organisations down south."
Ray Baker, chairman of Fife College, former chairman of the Employers' Association, said: "The new association will have the ability to exert influence on national policy makers and holders of resources so that the colleges are able to play an effective role in ensuring the Scottish economy has people with the necessary high level skills and knowledge."
* The 4,500 support staff in Scottish further education colleges have won a pay deal averaging 2.72 per cent.