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Talks under way in effort to pave way for next step

Worcester Editorial 6th Aug, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

THE HEART of Worcestershire College could be situated in five areas in the county after it revealed plans to merge with a college in Malvern and Evesham.

Talks are underway between bosses at the newly-formed county-wide college, which already has campuses in Worcester, Redditch and Bromsgrove, and South Worcestershire College over a possible merger.

The Heart of Worcestershire (HOW) College, which became fully operational last Friday (August 1), was formed after Worcester College of Technology and North East Worcestershire College amalgamated.

But speaking to the Observer, principal Stuart Laverick admitted they were now keen to get South Worcestershire College on board as they look to provide further opportunities for their students.

“Don’t get me wrong South Worcestershire College is much smaller than North East Worcestershire College and Worcester College of Technology,” he said. “But we are committed to a Worcestershire solution, so by merging with South Worcestershire College it would help to make sure there were high quality services available across the county.

“We would be in the best position to provide opportunities for learners across all the localities as we would be able to draw on the strengths and specialism of others.”

Mr Laverick, who is the former principal of Worcester College of Technology, which has a campus on Spring Lane in Malvern, said the possible merger was in the early stages, but he insisted talks were ongoing.

“We had a meeting at South Worcestershire College earlier this month and the decision was that they wanted to continue conversations with us about a possible coming together after the summer,” he said.

“We are looking to grow in Redditch, Bromsgrove, Worcester and now we are already in Malvern, we would like to further develop there.

“We are sitting on that because we are looking to see if South Worcestershire College wants to come into it, but if they do we would be excited because we think we can do some interesting things in Evesham and Malvern as well.”

Viv Gillespie, principal of South Worcestershire College, said HOW College were among a number of organisations they were holding talks with.

“We have been undertaking an options review during 2013/14,” she added. “The review includes developing options for the college’s future strategy in order to best serve our communities, and identifying partners who might add benefit to these arrangements.

“As part of this process, SWC has been in a range of discussions with several potential partners, including Heart of Worcestershire College.”

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