Bridgwater College and Somerset College have confirmed that they will merge on 14 June 2016, uniting the two colleges into one organisation.
Following an extensive consultation process, governors of both Bridgwater College and Somerset College approved plans to establish a new college which will bring together more than 26,000 students and 1,500 staff across a wide range of further and higher education courses.
Mike Robbins, Principal of Bridgwater College and designate principal of the merged college said,
“The merger with Somerset College fully supports our vision to become a world class education and training organisation. Combining the current strengths of both organisations will help us to create a college with one of the widest choices of academic, professional and technical education and training opportunities in the South West.
“It will also establish a more financially resilient college with the resources to invest in outstanding facilities and centres of excellence in a range of academic and occupational areas across main centres in Bridgwater, Cannington and Taunton, including a new university centre for Somerset.”
Derek Randall, Chair of the Bridgwater College Board of Governors said,
“This is a hugely exciting development for Somerset and the wider region, which will be of significant benefit to students, employers and our local communities. The merged college will play a major role in supporting economic development through the provision of high quality education, training and skills development linked to regional and, in some cases, national demand.
“As Chair of the Board of Governors of the newly merged college, I am pleased that some of the existing Somerset College governors will be joining with members of the current Bridgwater governors to form the new Board.”
Rachel Davies, Principal and CEO of Somerset College said,
“I am delighted that by combining, we have established a secure platform on which to build Somerset’s future, making the most of our strengths and positioning the college to embrace opportunities that support the growth of skills and learning, while meeting the employment needs of our local communities. Significantly this merger is also the catalyst needed for university provision in Somerset. The combined colleges with their large university student body, expertise experience and facilities will establish Somerset’s position as an appealing destination.”
Although the merged college will continue to operate under the two existing college names for the next few months, it is planned that it will become an institution with a single name in the near future.