Newcastle-based education group NCG has announced it is merging with Carlisle College.
NCG - owners of Newcastle College and Newcastle Sixth Form College - announced the plans which will see the two organisations share resources.
Bosses say the move will strengthen and further develop its provision and meet the needs of the local community.
It is not yet clear if the proposed move will affect jobs.
Carlisle College chair of governors, David Carter, said: “We were very clear about what we were looking for. When we approached NCG, we discovered they absolutely share our vision of providing the best possible education and training for Carlisle and the surrounding area and we are delighted to be moving into detailed discussions about the future.”
NCG, which has a nationwide network of colleges and training organisations, says it will support the continued development of provision in and around Carlisle.
They also say they will offer security to staff and continue to invest in the college “in a difficult funding environment”. Chronicle Live
If agreed, the college would retain its identity and brand, while benefiting from being part of a bigger organisation.
Joe Docherty, chief executive of NCG, said: “We are delighted that Carlisle College wants to join NCG.
“We share their focus on providing what employers and students in Carlisle need to develop skills for their local economy and we are pleased to be able to back that with the expertise and capacity of a major national group.”
Carlisle College principal Moira Tattersall added: “This is a really exciting time for the college and for Carlisle.
“NCG has a fantastic reputation for innovation and professionalism and becoming part of the group will enhance Carlisle College’s ability to respond to new skills needs in the area.
“The college will continue to do all the things it is known for and will have the resources and stability to develop new opportunities and address the needs and priorities that we cannot tackle alone.
“There is an opportunity to learn from NCG’s Aviation Training Centre at Newcastle Airport and their Rail Academy and see how this can help develop the college's offer in Carlisle.”
Carlisle College already works alongside other Cumbrian colleges and the University of Cumbria.
The merger with NCG would allow it to continue to work with local partners on goals set out by Cumbria LEP’s Skills Investment Plan. Carlisle College and NCG has now moved to detailed negotiations.
The next step is to publish a formal public consultation document, with a view to concluding the merger in time for the start of the new academic year this September.
The consultation on this plan will coincide with the Government’s Area Based Review of Cumbrian Colleges. - News & Star