Two colleges are set to combine their strengths in a bid to better serve learners and businesses across South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire.
A proposed merger between Dearne Valley College and the RNN Group, covering Rotherham College and North Notts College, would still allow both organisations to keep their existing identities, own campuses and commercial enterprises.
But for school leavers, it would mean a choice of the widest range of college courses and apprenticeships in the region, with the colleges sharing links with over a thousand companies to offer specialised training and apprenticeships.
Sixth form and college leavers, and adults returning to education would all stand to benefit from more choice of courses, along with progression routes on to university-accredited degrees and higher level courses, all delivered locally.
Under the proposals, the Manvers campus will continue to serve as Dearne Valley College, but will become part of a family of
organisations supported by the RNN Group, encompassing three further education colleges and five training
providers. Together they have a projected annual turnover in excess of £50 million.
There would be campuses in Rotherham, Wath-upon-Dearne, Dinnington, Worksop and Retford, and liaison with employers across the whole of the Sheffield City Region.
Principal and Chief Executive at Dearne Valley College, Martin Harrison, said: “We are delighted to put forward a proposal for Dearne Valley College and the RNN Group to merge, offering an even stronger provision of high-quality and effective
training, courses and apprenticeships for school leavers, higher education students, adult learners and businesses. Students who are already enrolled with us would not be affected, and all existing courses would continue to be taught at our Manvers campus.”
There is a government-led national review of the further education sector ongoing, that is investigating recommendations to create ‘fewer, more resilient colleges’.
The merger between Dearne Valley College and the RNN Group was a suggested outcome within this review, but the two institutions had already begun working closely together, after the Boards of Governors recognised the advantages that could come from linking together to operate as a single organisation.
The process is still under consultation. To comment visit www.dearne-coll.ac.uk/merger or www.rnngroup.co.uk/merger, or
attend consultation meetings. Further information is on the colleges’ websites.