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Further afield

Turbine to help train wind farm engineers

A new FE college is installing a wind turbine in order to train the next generation of wind farm engineers. The turbine at Hartlepool College of Further Education, which opens in September, will be used by students on engineering courses. The college hopes to develop youngsters to work at two new off-shore wind farms to be built in the North East. The new pound;52 million college will also have a jet and helicopter which will be used for training students.

New higher education courses come to Cambridge

Cambridge Regional College (CRC) is taking a leaf from the city's world- famous university by launching a range of new higher education courses. The college is looking to attract students who are put off going to university following the rise in tuition fees. The BTEC higher education programme combines face-to-face tuition with e-learning, allowing students to take up part-time work alongside their studies. Laurence Wells, CRC's head of curriculum development, said: "We offer a localised, high-quality alternative to moving out of the area, based in a vocational centre of excellence with outstanding employer and employment links, which is a big benefit when it comes to finding jobs in the future."

Director of bilingualism sets sights on Welsh language

The ColegauCymruCollegesWales association of FE institutions has created a new role to develop its Welsh language provision. Catrin Stephens has been appointed to the newly created post of director of bilingualism. Chief executive John Graystone said: "Progressing from school to college, from college to university and from college into the workplace is a key issue for learners who wish to develop their Welsh language skills." Ms Stephens said: "This is a particularly exciting time to start working with FE colleges. The colleges are cleverly very eager to develop their Welsh- medium and bilingual capacity. I am looking forward to working with all of the colleges' key partners, including schools, higher education institutions and employers."

Merger between Northumberland College and NGC likely

Northumberland College is set to become the latest member of NCG, formerly known as Newcastle College Group. College and group officials have agreed in principle to a merger, subject to Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and ministerial approval. The SFA consultation generated 364 responses, the highest response the agency has had to a merger consultation. Chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency Geoff Russell (pictured left) said there was "clear support" for the proposal from "key stakeholders", despite 63 per cent of respondents opposing the merger. Linda Ions, chair of the college's board of governors, said: "These are exciting times for Northumberland College. The merger will improve the success and experience of students and employers in Northumberland."

New title of AELP announced

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has had its name change formally confirmed. At its conference in June, the adult learning body, formerly known as the Association of Learning Providers (ALP), announced its new title. This has been ratified at an extraordinary general meeting, made so because it is the final step in the name-changing process. The new name aims to reflect the work done by many of the association's members in delivering welfare to work programmes. More than 70 per cent of the prime contractors delivering the Government's work programme are AELP members.

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