Redcar & Cleveland College and Stockton Riverside College have announced plans to merge in a dynamic move that could bring greater opportunities to the area.
Each college will keep its campus and name, as a key aspect of the merger is to ensure that Redcar & Cleveland retains its own college to meet the needs of local people and the local business community.
Mark White, chair of the Stockton Riverside College board of governors, said: “With a shared vision and passion for our local communities and the wider Tees Valley, both colleges are confident that the partnership will create greater opportunities for learners, employers, staff and stakeholders.
“By working together, we can draw upon each other’s strengths and deep-rooted knowledge of our local areas to create a stronger and more resilient college that, whilst always remaining fully focused on our learners, is better placed to meet the demands of the wider region at a time of significant economic regeneration.”
The timing of the merger follows the formal announcement of the South Tees Development Corporation masterplan, a plan to create a world-class industrial site on the River Tees.
The plan aims to create 20,000 new jobs across Redcar and the Tees Valley and the merger will help position Redcar & Cleveland College as one of the key institutions to service the demand for skills and training to support the plan.
With the colleges maintaining a strong presence in their respective communities, under the proposals, both will continue to offer an extensive further education provision. A responsive curriculum will reflect the needs of the communities that the colleges serve, with a wide variety of full and part-time courses, apprenticeships, higher education and professional training courses.
As one organisation, both colleges will benefit from shared expertise, resources and best practice along with enhanced opportunities for future growth.
Sue Jeffrey, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council and newly appointed Chair of Redcar & Cleveland College Board, said: “This is a really positive development both for the colleges and the area.
“We are optimistic that with shared values and ambition the merger of the two colleges will bring with it further opportunities for all of our students, staff and the employers that we work with.”
Welcoming the move, Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, said: “It is critical to my plans for the Tees Valley that we have excellent, financially sustainable further education provision.
“I hope that the vision and proven management ability of Stockton Riverside College will make this merger a success, and I wish them the very best of luck as they deliver their vision and plans to offer fresh hope for students in Redcar and beyond.”