East Anglian colleges’ merger bid ‘progressing well’

A BID to merge two land-based educational institutions in East Anglia is “progressing well”, say those behind the move.

Otley College in Suffolk and Easton College in Norfolk have been working together for the last three years. Most recently, staff from the Norfolk based college came across to Otley to meet staff and tour the campus. This followed a similar visit to Easton by Otley staff at the end of last year.

Groups from individual departments also met up to discuss how the partnership will evolve if a proposed merger is approved by the Government later in the year.

“Our aim is to create a strong specialist provider which fully meets the skills and training needs of individuals and businesses,” said Principal of Otley College Philip Winfield.

“We are very much at the early stages of this process, but it’s all been progressing well. We have attended county shows together, students have participated in cross college competitions and staff and resources have been shared across both of our campuses.”

David Lawrence, principal of Easton College, said: “This merger proposal is very much focussed on ensuring the landbased sector has a workforce with the right skills in what is a very challenging environment. Both colleges have set aside their own institutional interests to focus relentlessly on the needs of our industries and on ensuring our current and future students move into long term careers with a future.

“We believe that this collaboration will enable us both to become even more of a strong landbased provider - both regionally and nationally.”

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“If the proposals are approved, ultimately, we will retain our individual college identities, but collectively - under the banner of a new single organisation - we will be able to offer students more opportunities and better facilities. It’s an exciting time for everyone,” he added.

Currently, a period of public consultation is taking place and members of the community, businesses and individuals are being encouraged to have their say on what they think about the potential union by visiting http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Easton_Otley