Scottish minister says rural college learning can help local firmsThe Scottish government is underlining the role that rural education can play both in the community and for local businesses.

An extra £1 million of funding for the next academic year has been made available to 15 institutions in remote areas of the country by the Scottish Funding Council and skills minister Keith Brown believes the cash injection will make a difference.

He said: "Colleges in remote and rural areas can play a significant role in helping local small businesses deal with the challenges of the current economic climate."

The funds form part of a wider investment in Scotland’s higher education facilities, which Mr Brown admits are under pressure at the moment.

Minsters are also looking to engage in nationwide discussions with parents, students, teachers and "the wider education community" in a bid to improve the standard of learning in the country through a scheme called Engage for Education.

By Colette Paxton