It follows the Secretary of State’s endorsement of the merged organisation’s name, ‘Heart of Yorkshire Education Group’, which aims to meet the education and skills needs across Yorkshire from its campuses in Castleford, Selby and Wakefield.
Feedback from the public consultation process, which ran from October 21 to November 22 last year, demonstrated that the stakeholders for both colleges were overwhelmingly in favour of the plans to form the new organisation, serving the skills needs of the region.
Respondents agreed that the merger would develop and expand course offerings for students, improve learning through the sharing of best practice, meet local skills demands and create more opportunities for professional growth.
Andrew McConnell OBE, currently Chair of Governors at Wakefield College and the designated Chair of Governors at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, said: “Following an open and transparent public consultation process, I’m delighted to say that learners, staff, employers, partners and other stakeholders of both Colleges have responded extremely positively to all of our plans to merge.
“The support of our stakeholders is crucial as we progress with our exciting plans to become one organisation. Together, we are able to combine our strengths, share best practices and enhance our offering, helping to meet the education and skills demands of our local communities and the wider region at what is a critical time, as we work to rebuild the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Chair of Governors at Selby College, Richard Stiff, added: “I’m extremely pleased that we have received a positive response to our plans to merge with Wakefield College. By doing so, we are able to become a single, larger, more robust organisation, which can deliver a responsive curriculum and an absolute focus on quality, standards and excellence for the communities we serve in North Yorkshire, the East Riding, West Yorkshire and beyond.”
Sam Wright, who has been Principal and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Wakefield College since 2011 and also became interim Principal and CEO of Selby College from January 1 2022, will become the designated leader for the combined organisation from the date of merger.
She said: “I’d like to thank everyone who responded to our consultation for their support and feedback. We are making great progress - colleagues and teams within both colleges are already working closely and effectively together to merge operations, combine workstreams, share resources and develop plans for our new Group, ensuring that there is a seamless transition period
"This will ultimately enable us to become one, strong organisation, with a clear vision in mind – to make a positive impact on our local communities.
"I’m also delighted that our proposed group name was so strongly supported and that we have now received full approval from the Secretary of State.
"The location of our colleges means that we will be in the ‘Heart of Yorkshire’ geographically and we also aim to be the beating heart of the communities we serve. Underneath our new group name, we will be maintaining the names and identities of our existing individual colleges and campuses as well – with continuing local brands for Castleford College, Selby College and Wakefield College.
“As we move to become one organisation, there will be no change to students’ or apprentices’ chosen place of study and no requirement for learners to travel between the different campuses. There will also be no effect on applications to any of the Colleges for the academic year 2022-2023 – students will be able to attend the college they initially apply for.”
In the coming months, colleagues within both colleges will be working closely together to develop the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group’s identity, including its strategic vision, mission, values and objectives.