Gloucestershire colleges and university pledge a revolution in higher education provision
HIGHER education in the county is now undergoing a revolution.
Gloucestershire's major academic institutions have vowed to work together to allow students of all ages to access higher education closer to home.
They will be given the chance to enhance courses offered by the University of Gloucestershire at up to 10 centres across the country.
Putting pen to paper to sign a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding at Oxstalls Campus, were principals Greg Smith, Gloucestershire College, Kevin Hamblin, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and Stephen Marston, University of Gloucestershire vice chancellor.
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Mr Hamblin said: "The HE offer is changing nationally with some school and college leavers looking for a cost-effective college-based degree programme.
"From September, SGC will be offering some University of Gloucestershire degrees, of two years' duration rather than three, at a fee level lower than universities."
Mr Marston said: "This is a long-term commitment. We have made a good start agreeing to collaborate in providing new courses from autumn this year and working together on student recruitment.
"And over the years to come we have a shared objective to keep developing, through our alliance, a wider range of courses, offered in more locations, and available to more people."
Mr Smith said: "The partnership is a huge significance to the future success of the Gloucestershire economy.
"It provides the opportunity to develop the seamless provision of further and higher education throughout Gloucestershire which will meet the needs of both individuals and businesses."
While the colleges will remain independent institutions, the deal creates a powerful economic partnership.
"Together we have a turnover of £140m, an estimated 3,000 staff and some 40,000 students. So working together we believe we can make Gloucestershire a better place to work, to attract new business to and drive the economy," said Mr Smith.
"If we are to attract people into Gloucestershire, we need a skilled workforce. We need to make it possible for people to go into higher education and achieve that."