Public appointment: Chair appointed to Borders College

Public appointment news release.

The Minister for Higher Education, Further Education, Youth Employment and Training, Jamie Hepburn MSP, today announced the appointment of Ray McCowan as the Chair of Borders College.


Ray McCowan is the Director for the Workers Education Association in Scotland and a member of its UK Executive Leadership Team. He is also a member of the Education Scotland Board, the Adult Learning Strategic Forum for Scotland and has previously held a number of other non-executive director roles. Prior to his current roles Ray worked in the college sector as a lecturer and learning manager before securing Assistant Principal roles at Perth College UHI, Adam Smith College and finally a Vice Principal role at Edinburgh College. Ray has significant experience of partnership development and stakeholder engagement and looks forward to working with current and prospective partners in the Borders to deliver the best possible experience for college students and to ensure the college plays a significant role in meeting the skills needs of the region.


This appointment will be for four years and will run from 1 February 2022 until 31 January 2026.

This appointment is regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.

Remuneration and time commitment

This appointment is part-time and attracts a remuneration of £211 per day for a time commitment of two days per week.

Other ministerial appointments

Ray McCowan is a member of Education Scotland, for which he receives £288 per day for a time commitment of one day per month. 

Political activity 

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.   

Ray McCowan has had no political activity within the last five years.

Borders College

Borders College operates from three main sites (Galashiels, Hawick and Newtown St Boswells) and is the regional college for the Scottish Borders. The College has over 320 staff with an annual turnover of £15m. Each year, the College delivers learning, training and education to more than 5300 students who enrol for a wide range of courses and programmes including apprenticeships, classroom based and distance learning from foundation to degree level. They are key education partners in delivering the strategic ambitions of South of Scotland Enterprise and the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal. 

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