Merrist Wood College in Surrey is one of the latest smaller specialist colleges to merge with a larger neighbouring college to help spread administrative overheads and share expertise to achieve economies of scale.
The merger with Guildford College has been supported by Surrey Learning & Skills Council as it will safeguard and enhance the specialist courses connected with plants, animals and the environment for which Merrist Wood has an international reputation.
Lynne Sedgmore, principal and chief executive of Guildford College during the past five years, is to continue in her role following the merger, which took place on 1 August.
John Riddle, who had been principal of Merrist Wood for the past 12 years, has left having decided that it was an appropriate time to take on new challenges.
Sedgmore said: “The merger is an excellent opportunity for all our students. I am delighted to be leading the new college and to be working alongside the dedicated and highly qualified staff from both campuses.”
Director of Surrey LSC Nick
Wilson commented: “The newly merged college will now be able to provide a wider range of courses to meet the needs of Surrey learners and industry. We see this extended provision as one of the main benefits of the merger and are confident that Lynne Sedgmore and her team will continue to promote the highest standards of academic and vocational education.”
Long-term benefits will include the improvement of sports facilities at Merrist Wood and the development of a new “skills trade centre” to help tackle the area’s shortage of tradespeople.
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