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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.


Sponsored: Pick the Fair City for a great higher education experience

April 30 2018

If you are choosing where to get your qualifications, Perth could be the ideal place to get your higher education. Perth College UHI is proud to be a partner in the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland’s newest university, with 12 other colleges and internationally renowned research centres. The college and university offers courses from access and national certificate level up to honours and masters level. The picturesque, leafy campus on the outskirts of the city means that Perth College UHI is a popular choice for local, national and international students alike. With more than 9,000 full and part-time students, you are sure to meet new friends relaxing in the open green spaces or when visiting The Union-Link. As part of a vibrant college community, with the new Academy of Sport and Wellbeing situated in the centre of the campus, there are various opportunities to get involved in student life. As the college and university based in Perth, the institution is proud to offer high-quality academic and vocational programmes in an extensive range of subjects, at all levels and has an excellent reputation for supporting students to succeed and often to achieve far more than they ever thought that they would. Whether you are seeking to continue your education direct from school or returning to study to enhance your career prospects, the team are committed to providing you with the best possible student experience during your time in Perth. They want you to enjoy new experiences, meet new friends and feel supported every step of the way. As well as gaining knowledge and skills in your chosen subject area, you will develop wider skills and attributes as an individual, increasing your future options and opening up a range of opportunities to you at the end of your course. Staff also offer advice to help you decide on the right course for you. The talented and dedicated team will do their very best to help you succeed and fully achieve your ambitions. So, get in touch today to find out how they can help you take your next steps.  For a full list of courses and further information please visit the Perth College UHI website. To apply for September 2018, please contact the admissions team by phone on 0345 270 1177 or email pc.admissions.perth@uhi.ac.uk Keep in touch on Facebook @PerthCollegeUHI and Twitter @PerthCollegeUHI to get a taste of what life is like at Perth College UHI.

Perth & Kinross

Perth to improve trade links with China

April 30 2013

Perth is positioning itself to take advantage of the huge benefits offered by improved links to China and its growing economy. Scotland’s newest city has long boasted strong ties with East Asia through trade and a pioneering twinning agreement with Haikou in China’s Hainan province. That has the potential to provide huge benefits to Perth and Kinross and, it is suggested, could be the foundation for the region’s future business, educational and tourism success. As one the fastest-growing economies in the world, China has plenty to offer and a high-level delegation, led by then Provost Dr John Hulbert, visited in 2011. Among the party members were representatives from Perth College UHI and they were able to negotiate significant agreements that will increase the college’s penetration of the educational establishments in Haikou and bring greatly increased numbers of students to Perth. That work has continued and this month Perth College UHI welcomed a delegation from the Hunan Institute of Engineering. The visit was the latest in a series of exchanges as part of an institutional partnership between the two universities. Professor Xiao Peng, vice-president of the Hunan Institute of Engineering; Professor Licheng Yang, director of the International Education School; and Ms Kuangyi Mao, director of the Foreign Affairs Office, met college staff and signed an agreement formalising educational links. This has already seen the start of a staff exchange programme and will next see Chinese students take a year of their electrical and mechanical engineering degree studies at Perth College UHI. The exchanges will be complemented by the collaboration of additional disciplines and a joint research project. This latest agreement builds upon the strong links already created between the Perth campus of the UHI and the No. 1 Middle School in Haikou and the Hainan Normal University. That has led to staff from Perth teaching in the school and university in Haikou, while Chinese students have visited Perth to study during the latter stages of their courses. Perth itself has already become something of a hub for learning about Chinese language and culture, with Perth High School home to what was Scotland’s first Confucious classroom and offering Mandarin as one of its foreign languages. Perth and Kinross Council’s lifelong learning convener Councillor Bob Band said the improved links offered great opportunities for Perth’s workforce. “China has a huge population and they can all be consumers for Scottish products,” he explained. “Education is the first step to tapping into that market and it is fantastic to see this being undertaken so successfully in our schools and at Perth College UHI. “Whether through developing their own business, in their chosen workplace, or should it transpire that their employer wants to open an office in Beijing, knowledge of China, its culture and its languages could offer a great head-start. “It is great to think that Perth and Kinross could be well placed to take advantage of these opportunities.”

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Perth & Kinross

Perth College taken to employment tribunal by “fixed term” employee

May 14 2016

A tribunal against Perth College UHI is taking place in Dundee after a former member of staff claimed she was treated unfairly. Ms Pauline Stevenson has taken her former employer to a tribunal, claiming that that she "suffered less favourable treatment and/or dismissal as a fixed term employee" than she would have had she been on a permanent contract. During the evidence proceedings, the presiding tribunal judge Nicol Hosie acknowledged the complexities of the case and said that he had only come across one other similar case in his time as an employment judge. Ms Stevenson was a "fixed term" employee at the college and taught at the institution’s science department across various qualification levels between 2013 and 2015. Perth College UHI employ a proportion of their workforce on a "fixed term" contract, which means that employees on these contracts are not given permanent positions at the institution. Ms Stevenson had taken out a grievance against the college while still employed, in a dispute over working hours and payment. During the course of proceedings, the college argued that employing some members of staff on a fixed term basis allowed the college to be flexible against the ever changing demands of higher education. The hearing was told that Ms Stevenson's professional performance had never concerned fellow colleagues at the college, with one witness saying that the level of her work was always to a high standard, regardless of her fixed term status at the college. When asked to describe whether or not Ms Stevenson was a lecturer whose performance at work was what was expected as a "fixed term" employee, Dr Andrew Scott said: "Pauline is great, I would always liked to have given her more work." Giving evidence in defence of the college's decision to discontinue Ms Stevenson's employment, Susan Bald - vice principal and head of human resources and communications - said Ms Stevenson did not display the "values" the college expected. She said Ms Stevenson had exhibited behaviour that resulted in another colleague stepping down from their role, after an issue arose over career development. “Ms Stevenson is ambitious only for herself,” she said. “Ms Stevenson has no integrity and I don’t believe that she was collegiate.” Ms Bald explained that integrity was one of the values that Perth College always wished to embody. Asked under cross examination whether Ms Stevenson’s contract was not renewed due to her raising a grievance with the college, Ms Bald replied “no”. The tribunal continues, with submissions being entered for consideration on June 3 2016.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


Delving into Dundee’s archives

March 11 2017

Art and design lie at the heart of the creative industries in Dundee, industries which have often been inspired by the leisure pursuits and interests of Dundee’s population. These interconnections are clearly shown in the Archives of the University of Dundee; art and design is woven through many of the collections. This article features a few items which highlight the diversity of design related material held in the Archives. Dundee Art Society started out as the Graphic Arts Association in 1890, changing its name in 1904.  From the outset the group welcomed both professional and amateur artists as well as art patrons and lovers. As the Art College in Dundee grew, many of the staff joined the Society and used its platform to exhibit their art and network with other artists. The striking design for the cover of the centennial exhibition catalogue produced in 1990 echoes to the artistic trends of the early twentieth century. The longevity of the society reflects the continuing desire of artists within the community to join together, curate exhibitions and share their passion for art. Many of these artists had connections with the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology which was dissolved in 1975 to create Dundee College of Technology and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. The Art College remained independent until 1994 when it became a full part of the University of Dundee. All of these bodies are represented in the exhibition material, posters, photographs and student guides in the Archives.  Furthermore, alumnus of the College have contributed to our on-going Oral History Project. Former textile students, Pauline Hann and Sheila Mortlock, were interviewed to capture the personal stories of their time at the College, their career paths and interests. Hann and Mortlock were founding members of Embryo – Dundee Creative Embroiderers, formed in 1980, which developed from the frustration felt by numerous students at the lack of opportunities to exhibit contemporary embroidery within Scotland. The remit of the group was to promote the highest standards of workmanship, achieving this by restricting membership to graduates and undergraduates of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Embryo actively promoted their work through various exhibitions not only in Scotland but across the UK, eventually joining forces with two other textile groups to form Edge – Textile Artists Scotland. Edge is still going strong and attracting new members from a broader background albeit with a recognised education in textiles. The Archive’s Embryo collection includes exhibition publicity material, photographs and correspondence. Textile samples can be found in other collections, such as The Wilson Bros Ltd collection who were taken over by Pringle of Inverness. The pattern books of the woollen and cloth products they manufactured from 1927 to 1967 are fascinating. They show the changing trends in pattern and colour combinations and how design comes in and out of fashion over the decades. Other samples in the Archives show how design blended with the mass production of durable textiles as seen in the printed designs on linen which form part of the D. J. MacDonald collection. Using only two colours, the rising sun motif for the MacDonald company is bold and graphic whereas the design for Louise, seller of lingerie and hosiery has a more delicate touch with the female form and the name of the brand printed in signature style picked out in red. Jute and linen bags adorned with colourful printed designs are still popular today. Textile design in the city is thriving. Local fashion designer, Hayley Scanlan, studied textile design at DJCAD. Her oral history recording in the Archives tells of her desire to remain rooted in the city despite her burgeoning international career. Proud of her Dundonian heritage, Hayley’s designs are influenced by the changing city and she will soon open her first shop a stones throw from DJCAD where her talents were honed. Records held in the Archive are accessible to everyone. For further information about the Archives and its collections see www.dundee.ac.uk/archives   Sharon Kelly is assistant archivist at Dundee University's Archives Services 

Readers' letters

May 19: Hope that merger proposals do not overshadow college’s great achievements

May 19 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - As a former chair of Elmwood College with many years on the management committee, recent articles and talk of mergers with other colleges saddens me. Before the Tories did the great disservice of taking colleges out of local authority control, Fife had four admired colleges under Fife Regional Council. All excelled in their specialities and, although I may be biased, I thought Elmwood was easily the best. The college was internationally renowned with farming courses based on our own farm to give hands-on experience in agricultural education. The greenkeeping courses attracted students worldwide and Elmwood had strong links to China before the country gained its present economic strength. Fife Region's education service gave substantial financial support to the college which allowed a full restoration of Elmwood House and an extension of the range of course provision. The only group to vote against that plan were Lib Dems. Elmwood then expanded into catering courses plus high quality hairdressing backed by Charlie Taylor. My greatest pride was special learning needs education where boundaries were stretched well beyond the supposed capabilities that had limited the students in the past. The progress intellectually, vocationally and in sport enhanced Elmwood's unique identity. I just hope that the financial needs playing a part in merger proposals do not overwhelm all the wonderful achievements of the college. Agnes Joyce Smith.4 Lime Grove,Methil. Omitted to mention wind turbines Sir, - I was very heartened to read your lengthy article entitled ''A lek at the future but only for early birds'' (May 4) on local black grouse conservation measures and to note that they receive ''publicly funded advice and support''. Black game are indeed an iconic species and do indeed require ''low levels of depredation and disturbance to survive'' as stated by Dr Adam Smith of GWCT. I would like, however, to highlight some information missing from your article. Despite the laudable expressions of support for this species from the land owner and his statement that ''the hills need management or they will turn green or to forest and all the wildlife will die'', he omitted to mention his planning application for a windfarm on Connachan Hill (or Mull Hill the name misleadingly used by the developer), consisting of nine turbines, two of which are planned to be sited immediately adjacent to the very blackcock leks mentioned in the article! The title maybe should have read ''A lek at the future but not for long'' as these iconic birds will definitely be disturbed and displaced, if not worse, by this industrial development, were it to go ahead. I very much hope that the decision-makers at all levels will throw out this application as they did previously and that the black grouse thrive undisturbed on Connachan Hill. Maureen Beaumont.Foulford,by Crieff. Just what are the criteria? Sir, - I read Robert McNeil's recent column and noticed his mischievous remark about Perth being a ''village-sized city''. By Jings! He'll catch it for that! I certainly wouldn't have aired my doubts before Perth's ''city'' decision was made but as a native of Glasgow and having a Glaswegian's fellow-feeling for Dundee, both real cities, I wonder about such city status for in Glasgow parlance a ''wee totey toon'' like Perth. I like Perth and wish the town well but the old criteria for city status were the possession of a university, a cathedral, or both. Perth has neither (though it certainly has a City Hall!). It may be that historicity is now the criterion. If so, where does that leave Dunfermline or Arbroath? Size can't be the standard, for both Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy are bigger than Perth and my much-loved Glenrothes with its contiguous communities is bigger than either of those. Away from Fife, how would a campaign for city status for Paisley (which has both an abbey and a uni and is far bigger than Perth), East Kilbride or Livingston be received? I don't think that question needs an answer and I certainly wish Perth all the best and hope that its city status will indeed bring some practical benefit. James Thomson.14 Vardon Drive,Glenrothes. Pick up Bibles, not rocks Sir, - It was with dismay that I read of the damage done to Methven Church (Courier, May 16). It is at the centre of the village and is the gathering centre for Presbyterians who worship there. Surely both the village and its Christian community reflect the value they place upon the church and should be free to do so without such wanton vandalism proving to be such a costly and disturbing distraction. Might those responsible for the damage change their attitude and their ways if they had the courage to put down their rocks, take up their Bibles and attend at least one Sunday service? Or is that asking for too much? Alan Livingstone.Conservative Councillor, Almond and Earn. Tourist centre Sir, - Now the fate of Perth's City Hall has been decided we have been presented with a wonderful chance to create a very fine tourist information centre. This could cover not just Perth and Perthshire but the whole of Scotland. Perhaps the Phoenix Trust and the Gannochy Trust could help with cost? Flora Kirkland.Oaklands, Perth. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

Perth & Kinross

Perth College UHI graduation ceremony overshadowed by ticket row – claim

September 20 2016

A ticket row has overshadowed a Perth graduation ceremony which will be attended by HRH The Princess Royal. The mother of a Perth College UHI student claims that families and friends of almost half of this year’s graduates will not be able to attend the ceremony at Perth Concert Hall because they were not properly notified when extra tickets would be available for the event. Describing the decision to change the date of the extra ticket allocation from September 22 to 12 as “a slap in the face,” she states this information was only available on the college’s website. The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, claims scores of students and their parents are “outraged.” She said the extra tickets for the October 6 event were only available for a short time online. “The extra tickets went on sale at 10am on September 12 up to midnight on September 13, but none of the students were notified of this,” she said.   “Only two out of our family of four are able to attend and my daughter is really upset by this. What we are most annoyed at is the fact the college didn’t have the common courtesy to email us to let us know of this ticket change — it was done purely online. “The college are sending out bulk emails to the students asking them how many people will be coming to the event because one of the royal family is going. So why couldn’t they have done this with the extra ticket allocation? “I contacted the college but was told it was basically our fault as we hadn’t checked on their website.” She added: “Once we had registered our daughter for graduation shortly after the process opened, we had no reason to re-read either the ‘FAQ’ or the timeline on the register page. “The college has the facility to bulk email all students, so there was no reason for them not to notify each graduate in this manner. “It appears as if those who left registration to the last minute were favoured with the ability to purchase extra seats, whilst those who were keen to ensure all went smoothly and registered early were no longer notified and therefore not given the opportunity to purchase extra tickets. “This has affected a large number of students and has taken the shine off what should have been the high point of the graduates' life to date. “We understand that we may not have been able to buy tickets on the release date due to being sold out, but to not have been given this option at all is a slap in the face, especially after attending the college for a total of five years.” However, a spokesperson for Perth College UHI defended their method of ticket allocation in this case. “We guarantee our graduates two guest tickets only and if there are any spare, then we allocate on a first-come-first-served basis,” she commented. “The date extra tickets were released was brought forward because of operational reasons.The most up-to-date information is on our website and as we can’t guarantee the supply of additional tickets, we advised people should not make travel or accommodation arrangements for guests until their tickets have been purchased.”