Redcar & Cleveland College and Stockton Riverside College are set to merge on August 1st 2018. In response to the consultation on the plans, Redcar MP Anna Turley said:
“The merger of Redcar & Cleveland College with Stockton Riverside College has my full support, on the basis that retaining an FE college for young people in Redcar & Cleveland is a central part of the proposal.
“I believe the merger will be help bring an end to the insecurity that has hung over Redcar College, and ensure that young people in the area can access the best quality education without having to travel further afield. Stockton Riverside are a strong partner with a proven record of delivering top quality education, and this will be advantageous to both schools in the new partnership.
“The issue of prime importance here is that our young people are equipped with the skills and experience to take advantage of new and growing industries and projects on Teesside. From the existing projects by MGT Power and Sirius Minerals, to the potential development on the former SSI site, local people need the high quality training to prepare them for the new jobs on offer. Stockton Riverside’s record in this area, particularly given their existing partnership with the NETA Training Trust, should help to enhance the colleges’ links with business and industry. When the steelworks closed Redcar College responded as well as it could, but its reduced capacity was obvious even then. I am confident this merger will reverse that trend, ensuring that our FE College in Redcar is the best it can be and that it is able to teach our young and adult learners the skills they need to succeed.
“I would also like to see the new college have a greater focus on gender parity, ensuring a wide range of opportunities are available for local women as well. The courses available should be marketed towards all genders and not reinforce existing stereotypes and perceptions. For instance, there is a huge imbalance in the number of women involved in STEM subjects and we should be doing more to encourage and inspire young women to explore careers in those areas.
“Whilst I appreciate that the merger will naturally result in coordination of courses across the two college sites, this must be done sensitively in a way that recognises the needs of Redcar & Cleveland. Both sites must have a strong offer of subjects and travel costs cannot be allowed to discourage prospective students if they have to travel to the other borough for particular courses.
“I firmly believe this merger is in the best interests of both colleges and has excellent potential to transform the education and training available to local people. I look forward to working with the new merged college to ensure this is delivered.”