Education & Skills

The Aberdeen City Region has a rich tradition of educational achievement from as early as the 15th century, which continues to this day. The region has two world class universities and one college that produce Scotland’s most employable graduates. These institutions support research and innovation, providing talent to support local businesses in energy, life sciences, architecture, engineering, medicine, health and the creative industries, all of which are thriving industries in the North East. The pool of educated and skilled workers is high, making it a competitive location to start or relocate a business.

University of Aberdeen


The University of Aberdeen, established in 1495, is one of the oldest English-speaking universities and in the top 70 in the world. It has a global presence in higher education and attracts students and staff from around the world, with a diverse community of more than 130 nationalities across its 22,000 students and 3600 staff.

The University of Aberdeen is in the top quartile globally for all 17 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, which include Quality Education, Climate Action, Gender Equality, Clean Energy and Sustainable Cities and Communities.

The institution has a long history of innovation with notable achievements including the world’s first whole-body clinical MRI scanner, the world’s first logic-programming language (Absys), and the invention of partition chromatography, a fundamental technique behind modern chemical analysis.


Robert Gordon University

Robert Gordon University (RGU) delivers a high-quality vocational education and relevant curriculum which provides learners with the skills they require to thrive throughout their careers. As a result, the university has a reputation for producing graduates that are highly sought after by employers. Over the last decade RGU has consistently had one of the best records of any UK university for graduate level employment. It celebrates a high quality student experience and is currently ranked 2nd in Scotland and top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction (THE's positivity measure, NSS 2023).

RGU has a heritage going back 250 years and was awarded university status in 1992. Throughout its development, the university has remained committed to creating equal opportunities to access a relevant and valuable education. It is made up of eleven schools and offers over 300 courses ranging from engineering, architecture, computing, and life sciences to the creative industries, health and social care, and business. It has a student population of over 16,500, who study on-campus and online; notably, it is one of the largest providers of online learning in the UK. 


Courses are developed through close collaboration with employers, professions and industry to address skills regional and national needs, and this ensures that curriculum is demand-led.

The university is making significant investment to grow its globally impactful research in key areas including sustainable transport; built environment visualisation; industrial biotechnology; smart data and artificial intelligence; and pharmacy practice. Through prioritising strategic research partnerships, the university fosters excellence in knowledge exchange and interdisciplinary collaboration. RGU is known for its close engagement with industry and has a significant track record in workforce development both nationally and internationally. It collaborates with organisations, governments, trade bodies, industry associations and educational institutions to stimulate innovation and drive economic development.

The Aberdeen city region has long been renowned as a Global Energy Hub.

North East Scotland College

North East Scotland College (NESCol) is one of the largest providers of vocational education and training in Scotland, delivering to more than 20,000 full-time, part-time and distance learning students each year.  

The College operates from its main Aberdeen Altens, Aberdeen City and Fraserburgh campuses as well as the Scottish Maritime Academy in Peterhead.  

NESCol has a turnover in excess of £50 million and employs around 850 staff. For the £44m of Scottish Government funding received annually, it is estimated the institution is responsible for an economic impact of £400m.  

NESCol is proud of its leading role in the evolution of traditional industries and fundamental to supporting new and emerging sectors as an anchor institution in a diverse and innovative 


region, including as a key partner of the National Energy Skills Accelerator and collaborating with ETZ Ltd in delivering the Energy Transition Skills Academy.  

The College’s relationships with employers continue to grow, with more than 1,200 supported by and collaborating with NESCol. Almost 600 Modern Apprenticeships are delivered each year, alongside around £1.7m of activity linked to the Scottish Government’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund to drive the upskilling and reskilling required to underpin economic growth.  

The College works in partnership with 32 secondary and 15 primary schools across the region, enrolling in excess of 6,000 pupils each year across a range of subject areas as part of a burgeoning schools-college partnership programme.

The Aberdeen city region has long been renowned as a Global Energy Hub.

The Aberdeen City Region is primed for business and Invest Aberdeen is here to help

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