COUNTY NEWS: Colleges merge to form largest college group in Sussex

Two Sussex colleges have merged to form a dynamic and ambitious new group.

Wednesday, 2nd August 2017, 12:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:22 pm
New principal Vicki Illingworth outside Crawley College

The merge, which is between Chichester College and Central Sussex College in Crawley, has just been announced, and will create the largest college group in Sussex, providing high quality learning opportunities for around 25,000 students each year.

As part of the merger, Central Sussex College has been renamed to reflect the group’s commitment to the community and will now be known as Crawley College.

Shelagh Legrave OBE DL has been appointed chief executive officer for the group.

Shelagh Legrave has been appointed chief executive officer for the group. Picture: Alexis Maryon

She is joined by Kieran Stigant, who takes up his position as chairman of the corporation.

A new principal – Vicki Illingworth – has also been appointed for Crawley College.

Vicki, who was previously assistant principal at Chichester College, took up her role yesterday (August 1), while Andrew Green will become executive principal at Chichester College.

Shelagh said: “We are delighted to be coming together to form a dynamic group of colleges and businesses focused on championing excellence in teaching and learning.

Chichester College

“Our students at all of the group’s campuses will be at the heart of everything we do as we strive to ensure we are giving them the very best education and experience that we can.

“The group will also offer increased opportunities to students – as well as employers and communities in Sussex, giving them a greater access to a wide range of courses at many different levels.

“It is our aim that we will create educational institutions that follow sustainable and innovative structures, encouraging growth and investment.”

Kieran added: “I am thrilled to be part of the new group and excited for the future, which will see increased learning opportunities for students across Sussex.

Central Sussex College in Crawley will now be known as Crawley College. Picture: Liz Pearce

“We are looking forward to working in partnership with local businesses and organisations to ensure we are able to deliver a diverse and employer led curriculum that meets their skills and workforce requirements.”

The group covers four main sites – Chichester College, Crawley College, Brinsbury (a land-based campus) and Horsham Training Centre.

It also has an extensive portfolio of successful commercial businesses which operate alongside the colleges, including a chain of childcare nurseries (First Steps Childcare), an examination board, international education and sports and conferencing facilities.

The college merger has been welcomed by local authorities including West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough Council, along with the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.

Councillor Peter Lamb, leader of Crawley Borough Council, said: “Strong technical training is at the heart of improving residents’ life-chances and helping them to access better jobs, whether it’s their first job or their last.

“This merger is another step along the road to building an economy which works for everyone.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Coast to Capital chief executive, added: “We welcome the merger of Chichester College and Crawley College (Central Sussex College), which will provide excellent learning opportunities to many students across the Coast to Capital region.

“The group’s commitment to an employer-led curriculum will benefit the economy by meeting local business and community needs. We look forward to continuing to work closely with colleges to meet the skills and workforce needs of the region.”

Peter Lauener, chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, said: “This merger will put Crawley College on a firm and sustainable footing, well placed to meet the needs of local learners and employers.”

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