A merger between two of the largest colleges in Greater Manchester has been completed, while an adult education provider and another college in the West Midlands have also merged.
Stockport College and Trafford College officially merge today and will now be known as the Trafford College Group. The larger college will have 14,000 students and apprentices and a combined turnover of around £37 million.
Meanwhile Walsall Adult and Community College (WACC) will officially become part of Walsall College after a decision taken last month by both college's leadership teams.
The college brand will be "refreshed" with the aim of formally launching by the end of April. The new group will on the property, rights and liabilities of the Stockport College Corporation, which will be dissolved.
Principal and chief executive Lesley Davies said the college's aim is for learners to be ahead of the competition.
"We are putting at the core of our programmes employability and professional skills development, underpinned practically with: a digital entitlement; a values-driven curriculum; an emphasis on professional behaviours; and setting the standards and aspirations for our students at a high level, working with them. We intend to grow commercial and apprenticeship provision and increase revenue through the development of high-value transformational relationships with employers and businesses, as well as developing our higher education offer ensuring that it is recognised for its value to individuals, communities and business.
"By developing and delivering business partnerships that enhance curriculum delivery, and providing meaningful work placements and experience that enable a clear line of sight to work and careers, we will set ourselves apart as a career college."
'Business as usual'
Announcing the merger, Jatinder Sharma, principal and chief executive of Walsall College, said it was an exciting development that combines the already excellent resources and expertise of each college, providing Walsall and the local area with improved synergy to deliver education and training opportunities.”
Courses, staff and each college’s estate remain unchanged and Sharma said: “Our commitment to staff, students and the local community at this current time is very much one of ‘business as usual’. Our staffing structures and course options for the future will be considered, as normal, through our annual planning cycle to ensure we deliver the very best education and training and maintain our already excellent reputation.”
The delivery of WACC courses will continue as per current arrangements, its principal Jev Bhalla said. “The team at WACC is incredibly proud of all it has achieved since being established in 2010, so it is with much excitement and positivity that we start our future as part of Walsall College – an institution with an outstanding reputation both in the local area and further afield. The team at WACC is incredibly proud of all it has achieved since being established in 2010.”