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News at a glance

- New Pearson college seeks entrepreneurial spirit

Publishing firm Pearson is to open its own college offering business degrees. The company, which owns exam board Edexcel, said the new institution would target the "brightest and most entrepreneurial students". Degrees at the college will be validated by Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, both of which are part of the University of London, and incur tuition fees of #163;6,500 a year. Pearson said its degrees would "focus on preparing students for the world of business", and include a guaranteed internship programme. A small number of students are being recruited to start next month, but the college will officially open in 2013.

- Birmingham merger creates vocational giant

Two Birmingham colleges have joined forces to become one of the biggest FE institutions in the country. The merger of South Birmingham College and City College Birmingham was completed this month. The new South and City College Birmingham employs 1,200 staff and will provide vocational courses for more than 25,000 learners, specialising in subjects such as motor vehicles, construction, care and media. Mike Hopkins, principal of the new college, said: "The merger is very reassuring news for students as well as staff at the college, offering a secure future for both, while at the same time providing an even greater range of high quality courses and training opportunities."

- Youth unemployment down, but climate still 'tough'

Youth unemployment has dropped slightly, according to the latest official figures published this week. In the 16-24 age group, 1.01 million people were unemployed in the three months to June, down by 4,000 from the previous three months. However, a report from the Trades Union Congress warned that the job outlook for the young was the bleakest since 1994. "Students looking to start their careers or continue in their education next month are facing the toughest climate for nearly 20 years," said general secretary Brendan Barber. "If this continues we could lose a generation of talented and highly qualified youngsters to blighted careers, debt and underachievement."

- Truancy prompts bar on non-EU students

City of Wolverhampton College has stopped recruiting international students after an investigation revealed that many ended up truanting, with some staying on in the country illegally after finishing their courses. The college decided to take action after UK Border Agency officials raised concerns about the high levels of absence among its non-EU students. From September, students from outside Europe will no longer be accepted for qualifications at level 3 or below in a move expected to cost the college tens of thousands of pounds in lost fees. A college spokeswoman said: "The college has made the decision not to recruit new international students (non-EU) because the government has made it very clear that it is seeking to reduce the number of international students coming into the UK."

- Aerospace apprenticeships set to take off

More than 100 new apprenticeships in the aerospace industry will be created as the result of multi-million-pound deals announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg last week. Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing and MARKET-MATS have signed an agreement to locate their advanced manufacturing campuses in Herefordshire. This will create more than 1,000 new jobs, over 10 per cent of which will be apprenticeships. Aviation giant Airbus has also announced it will be appointing 169 new apprentices and graduates in September.

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