Bigger is definitely better

Greater Manchester College's Group
Greater Manchester College's Group

EDUCATION bosses in Wigan have joined in a unique partnership involving the biggest 10 colleges in Greater Manchester.

Wigan and Leigh College is part of the joint venture company - believed to be the first of its kind in the country - known as The Greater Manchester Colleges Group.

Since 2010, the principals of the 10 colleges have worked closely to explore the benefits of the partnership to inspire their students, industry partners and local communities.

Recently they successfully secured a European funded bid worth £14m, which they say will play a critical role in ensuring that the region has a skilled and educated population.

The group represents and promotes the further education sector within Greater Manchester and with colleges contributing more than £500m to the Greater Manchester economy each year, they play a key role in securing the region’s economic wellbeing.

Peter Ryder, Tameside College principal and the group’s chairman, said: “As a Group we will be continuing to work with local and regional employers to bring a greater emphasis on enterprise, entrepreneurialism and innovative thinking to the education sector.

“We aim to build capacity and excellence by developing existing provision and pulling together the expertise and specialist skills from all of the Colleges involved.

“This latest development is testament to the optimism we have for the future, and our shared belief in the positive benefits for learners and the wider community of our working closely together.”

Robin Newton-Syms, the group’s partnership director, added: “Our aim is to use the new company to attract more funding into Greater Manchester and facilitate work with other organisations.

“We already have strong links with the Chamber of Commerce, private sector training providers, local authorities and the voluntary sector which is helping employers develop the skills of their workers.

“The potential now is for colleges to help shape the future of businesses, by offering effective training solutions and skills development which will enable them to grow.”

Further education colleges were among the sectors to be badly hit by the financial collapse of 2008, with many hit by government funding cuts to building programmes.