The announcement that Swindon College and New College are set to merge in 2020 has been welcomed by business ambassador group Switch on to Swindon.
Chair of Switch on to Swindon Jenny Groves spoke out positively about the news,
“After the recommendation to merge from the Department for Education several years ago, it’s great that both colleges can now combine their academic talents into an outstanding Further Education provision of the future.”
The Department for Education has also announced that the merger will incorporate plans for the Institute of Technology (IOT), a £21 million Government fund to create Higher Education technical courses on the Swindon College site in a new building.
Jenny added “ Swindon’s focus on academic growth over the last few years, with the awarding of the Institute of Technology funding, will mean an even better and brighter pathway for students into a variety of Higher Education courses. The merger should allow both campuses to expand on their local presence, improve the cultural and academic offer for students and build a stronger identity and reputation.”
Plans laid out in the Institute of Technology bid will also see businesses across the town, like Pharmaceutical company Catalent, become anchor partners, helping to create the curriculum for the new institute.
Councillor Oliver Donachie, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Place, said: “This proposed merger by Swindon’s two colleges is great news for local businesses as the high quality curriculum on offer will ensure there is a pipeline of young people leaving the new educational establishment with the skills and qualifications our local firms need for their continued success.
“These are exciting times for post-16 education in the town with the £21m Institute of Technology on the horizon and plans for this merger announced this week. With the Royal Agricultural University also due to offer courses at the revamped Carriage Works and other universities already providing higher education opportunities, our economy is set for a significant skills boost in the years ahead.”
Jenny added “The IOT starting next year and now the colleges merging will further develop the high quality student experience here in Swindon, and also enable business growth with additional highly-skilled technologists in the workforce; a vision shared with the TechSwindon project.”