I was privileged to welcome a group of Afghan Interpreters to The Scottish Parliament today. These individuals have been seeking access to further and now higher education.
Through a lot of hard work this access to education has now been secured with no small measure of thanks going to Shirley Anne Somerville, Minister for Further Education, who today announced steps are being taken to enable these interpreters the opportunity to continue their educations.
These Afghany interpreters risked their lives in Afghanistan by assisting the British armed forces there. It is no exaggeration to say that without their assistance many more servicemen and women would have come to harm.
As such I am delighted to say the 320 Afghan interpreters here in Scotland will now be eligible to apply for the 2018-2019 academic year for any course provided, at both colleges and universities, should they meet the entry criteria.
It disappoints me to say that the Tory Government continues to deny this vital opportunity for Afghan interpreters south of the border. I very much hope they will revisit their position upon witnessing what I hope will be a very successful scheme.
Please find the Ministers statement on this topic below and should you be interested my contribution is at 14:40 & 40 secs.