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Highland looks East

The Scottish Qualifications Authority has launched two new initiatives to encourage the Highlands' large immigrant population to stay in the area.

The authority is to increase the availability of English courses for speakers of other languages to help pupils and migrant workers who have moved to the area from abroad improve their communication skills. It has also struck a partnership agreement with exam officials in Poland, so that qualifications gained by immigrants in their own country can be translated into the Scottish equivalent. The moves were unveiled this week at the SQA's launch of its strategy for action in the Highlands and Islands in conjunction with the University of the Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute (UHI).

The SQA has appointed Tom Drake as interim chief executive, following the announcement that Anton Colella is leaving the chief executive post at the end of September to take on a similar role at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland. Mr Drake, aged 60, is currently director of strategic development. A permanent appointment is expected in the next few months.

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