The merger of three of the region’s Further Education colleges into the South Hampshire College Group has heralded an auspicious new era for Further Education (FE).
Students from across South Hampshire will benefit from an enhanced range and improved quality of courses, with more expertise on offer and improved opportunities, across the campuses at the former City College Southampton, Eastleigh and Fareham college sites.
South Hampshire College Group’s (SHCG) first term starts in September, with students enrolling on a wide range of courses aimed at increasing the supply of professional and technical skills to the local economy.
The merger took place on Tuesday 1 August after positive feedback from students, parents, staff and local employers in a public consultation and a Department for Education (DfE) recommendation for the go-ahead in May 2023.
The newly-appointed CEO of the South Hampshire College Group, Andrew Kaye said: “This merger has created a single, financially strong, responsive and ambitious Further Education organisation to serve the education and training needs of South Hampshire.
“It’s an exciting new start and will bring many benefits to our students and staff, businesses and local communities.
“We will pool all our resources and expertise to enhance the range and quality of courses in this region.
“We also look forward to delivering enhanced pathways into higher levels of study and work; increasing the supply of skills; meeting employers’ needs and supporting our region’s economy to grow.
“Our ambition is to create a new and vibrant college, better able to meet the economic and social mobility challenges that the region faces.”
Chair of the new Board of Governors at SHCG, Sandra Prail, said: “We are tremendously excited to be at the helm of the new SHCG, and our Board members look forward to contributing their expertise and skills from many industry sectors into the new venture.
“I’m positive the students attending courses at our new college will flourish, grow in confidence and ultimately make a real tangible contribution to the local workforce and economy with their skill sets.”
Geraint Davies, former Chair of Governors at City College Southampton said; “The merger of these three FE colleges into the South Hampshire College Group will create a college for the future and we are proud to have a place in it.
“SHCG will provide centres of excellence, with a concentration of talent on each of the campuses. SHCG will produce skilled people to join South Hampshire’s workforce and contribute to the success of the economic landscape. We are looking forward to the future.”
Kevin Briscoe, former chair of Governors at Fareham College said: “I am delighted that this three-college merger has been achieved. The new SHCG will pay huge dividends to students and staff, while also benefiting our local businesses and communities.
“Everybody involved in this merger is confident that we have the resources and determination to establish an exceptional Further Education college fit to meet the needs of the future.”
Natalie Wigman, former chair of Eastleigh College Board of Governors, said: “By uniting our resources, we can enhance the range of provision and the quality of courses, allowing our students to thrive in this new environment.
“We can also increase the supply of skills, meeting employers’ needs more effectively and supporting our region’s economy.”