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The merger between Telford College of Arts and Technology, and New College Telford, has been officially rubber-stamped by the Government.

The two colleges have already been operating under one Telford College banner since the summer, unveiling a joint programme of courses and new identity.

They have also launched a ground-breaking new ‘7th Form’ – the first of its kind in the UK - to address the gap between education and the changing needs of local businesses with an enhanced A level programme.

Graham Guest, principal and chief executive of Telford College, said: “The two campuses have been working collaboratively for over a year, so this is simply an official endorsement of our joint working arrangements.

“Staff from the two sites have combined their knowledge and skills to build a one-stop service for students and employers, building on the best traditions of both colleges to provide high quality education, skills and training.”

He added: “This is an exciting time for us. Our Haybridge Road campus has seen rapid progress over the past year, reflected in an improved rating from education watchdog, Ofsted.

“We also celebrated our best ever GCSE English and maths results this summer, and enrolment numbers for courses which started in September were significantly higher than the previous year.

“This merger is about building on all of these successes, and meeting the needs of local businesses. We have been working closely with big employers, as well as UK universities, to shape our new-look curriculum.

“Telford College is committed to addressing skills gaps, opening students’ minds up to new opportunities, and giving them a clear and stress-free pathway to employment, with the support of mentors from local businesses.”

As part of the merger, investment will be made on industry-standard training equipment and university-standard facilities at the Haybridge Road campus, including the latest virtual and augmented reality technology.

The new 7th Form, which will welcome its first students in September 2018, blends the A level offerings of a traditional sixth form with direct links to universities and mentors from local businesses, to give students viable careers destinations.

Alongside the traditional A level and combined vocational courses, it will also offer 10 distinct career routes in leading industries, including childcare, computing, engineering, health and social care, sport, law and politics.

Mr Guest said: “This has been a time of huge change at both colleges, and I’d like to say a big thank-you to the staff for the way in which they have responded, and risen to the challenge.

“This is an exciting time for further education. With the new waves of investment currently coming into our region, it’s vital that we work together to help create a workforce with strong academic, vocational and employability skills.”

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