City College Southampton, Eastleigh College and Fareham College are inviting public feedback ahead of a proposed merger this summer to create one financially strong, responsive and ambitious Further Education (FE) organisation.
Following an initial Department for Education (DfE) recommendation in May 2022, City College Southampton, Eastleigh College and Fareham College have actively explored the opportunities afforded by merger of the three colleges. The benefits of merger include becoming a financially stronger and more resilient college group, an enhanced curriculum offer for students and apprentices across all three colleges and a combined solution to addressing local skills gaps and employer training needs in Hampshire. Merger will also offer greater opportunity for staff professional development and career progression.
To achieve the merger, the corporations of City College Southampton and Eastleigh College will dissolve with their assets and liabilities transferring to Fareham College. The corporation of Fareham College will be renamed to reflect the newly formed College. The names and brand identities of the three existing colleges and their campuses will remain unchanged. Existing students will continue to study at their current campus.
It is proposed that the newly merged corporation, to which the three colleges will belong, is called South Hampshire College Group. This name would come into effect on 1st August 2023, the proposed date of merger.
Martin Sim, Principal and CEO of City College Southampton, said: “We are excited by the huge benefits that this three-college merger will bring to students, businesses, our local communities and staff. By uniting our resources, our expertise and our existing centres of excellence, we can enhance the range of provision and the quality of courses throughout Southampton and the surrounding areas.
We can also create seamless pathways into higher levels of study and work, increasing the supply of skills, meeting employers’ needs more effectively and supporting our region’s economy to grow and succeed.
This does not mean we would lose our long-established identity, nor our focus on supporting our local community. We would continue to retain our existing local brand”.
Paul Cox, CEO at Eastleigh College, said: “This merger will benefit employers and local businesses in the South Hampshire community, including better facilities, high-quality training and a central point of contact for education needs, putting the new college in the best placed position to deliver exceptional training that can successfully fill skills gaps and training needs.
The merger will be supported by additional inward investment which will enable us to enhance our existing resources and facilities and further develop our curriculum offer — ensuring we collectively deliver the highest quality training and courses, tailored to employer and student needs.”
Andrew Kaye, Principal and CEO at Fareham College, and CEO Designate for the new College, said: “Our ambition is to create a new and vibrant college, better able to meet the economic and social mobility challenges that the region faces.
This merger offers long-term benefits that will benefit regional economic productivity and support the recommendations of the emerging themes from the Local Skills Improvement Plans.
This new college will be a major employer in the region and one which staff will be proud to work for. The college will value the skills and talents of its workforce and ensure they are supported in their professional development to deliver high-quality post-16 education and training.”
The new college will be overseen by a newly constituted board of governors with a range of professional experience to support and challenge the leadership of the college to ensure the success of the college.
Other benefits of merger include a wider range of T Level courses across all three colleges, new Higher Technical Qualifications delivered through the colleges’ association with the Institute of Technology, more employer-led training and reskilling of adults. The new college will also have a greater capacity to pursue new initiatives and funding opportunities.
The public consultation will run between 29th March and 2nd May 2023, with all responses to be carefully considered ahead of the final proposal. The public consultation document and online feedback form can be found at:
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