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Education secretary to kick-off HISA’s virtual student conference


By Louise Glen

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John Swinney
John Swinney

The Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) conference was launched today, Monday January 25, with a key presentation from John Swinney, deputy first minister of Scotland and cabinet secretary for education and skills.

It is hoped Mr Swinney will give insight into the future forecast of employability for students and graduates, while an interactive question and answer session will give students of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) the opportunity to pose direct questions on relevant issues.

The week-long event will run until Friday January 29 and focuses on the changing world of employability, a topic that has been at the forefront of national concern over the past year and will see interactive workshops, keynote speakers and various activities designed to help students of the UHI make the most of their student experience.

Overall, the conference helps shape the decisions, policies, and actions that both HISA and the university will work on throughout the year.

The presentation from John Swinney is hoped to give insight into the future forecast of employability for students and graduates, while an interactive question and answer session will give students of the University of the Highlands and Islands the opportunity to pose direct questions on relevant issues.

HISA president, Florence Jansen, said: “We are delighted to welcome John Swinney to this year’s HISA conference. It is a unique opportunity for our students to question one of the highest-ranking Scottish politicians on a wide range of issues such as education, Brexit and the impact of the ongoing Covid pandemic.

“The HISA conference may look different this year, but it’s fantastic that the new online environment has enabled us to welcome high-profile speakers like Mr Swinney for the first time.”

Speaking before his speech, Mr Swinney said:“I cannot think of a more timely conference theme for students than employability, given the challenges of a Covid and a post-Brexit labour market.

"However, the qualifications that students at today’s conference are working towards will place them in good stead to compete in that market.

"These are difficult times for all connected with further and higher education. But the Scottish Government is doing all it can to support students and institutions through these difficult times.”

Read more about HISA.


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