By Ian Dipple Wednesday 23 October 2013 Updated: 24/10 18:17
COLLEGES in Redditch and Worcester will merge by next year in a bid to improve training for businesses and increase opportunities for students.
NEW College and Worcester College of Technology announced in July they were exploring creating a closer link between the two organisations.
Consultants KPMG were asked to look at the different options and recommended a merger into a new organisation which was approved by both colleges this week.
A further phase of consultation and investigation will now take place but college chiefs say they want to move quickly to avoid unnecessary uncertainty. The aim is to implement the changes by the start of September 2014.
A name for the new organisation has yet to be decided but is currently being referred to as Worcestershire College however campuses in Redditch, Bromsgrove and Worcester will all be retained and courses currently offered on all three sites will continue.
NEW College principal John Callaghan said there would not be wholesale changes but the merger would allow them to increase their income, better meet the needs of employers, work more with universities, improve their online provision and become more attractive to international students.
"A lot of our facilities and curriculum at Redditch and Bromsgrove is pretty top notch and there's no desire to change that and a lot of the students won't notice any change at all," he said.
Colleges are currently struggling under the weight of government spending cuts and increased competition but Mr Callaghan said saving money was not the reason behind the changes.
"We think as a larger organisation we can earn more and be more attractive. As a bigger unit you tend to get a better chance of linking into larger national initiatives, pots of funding and national work," he said.
"Over the next ten to 20 years this will allow us to still be around while some of the small providers will struggle to survive.
"Redditch and Bromsgrove will always have an organisational presence regardless of what changes come."
Mr Callaghan added they would seek to keep redundancies to a minimum.
"If we find there are three people doing the same job then we will have to rationalise that. The overall number of jobs will stay broadly the same and may even increase but in different areas," he said.
"We will always seek to minimise redundancies and we and Worcester College have already taken steps to right size the organisation."
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