City College Norwich and Great Yarmouth College in historic link-up

Two of Norfolk biggest colleges today announced a groundbreaking partnership to provide better training and learning opportunities for the county's young people.

The days of City College Norwich and Great Yarmouth College competing for students appear to be over, as the pair embark on a period of working together.

The partnership is almost certainly driven in part by the need to save money during financially tight times for further education.

That is touched upon in a joint press release, which said the link-up would enable the colleges to share 'back office' services including human resources and finance, enabling them to 'run more effectively and efficiently'.

Bosses at the two colleges hope the link-up will enable young people from the Great Yarmouth area to tap into key sectors of the Norwich economy - including retail and financial, which City College has national skills academy status in.

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And, with plans for a University Technical College in Norwich for 14-19-year-olds moving ahead apace, teenagers in the city could benefit from improved access to training in the coastal and offshore gas, oil and renewable energy industries.

It is also hoped that the partnership will give young people access to a wider range of higher education opportunities, alongside better pathways for those studying at level two (GCSE equivalent) and level three (A-Level equivalent).

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Students will also gain from having access to facilities including City College's National Skills Academy at St Andrew's House in Norwich, the Retail Skills Academy shop that will open soon in Chapelfield in Norwich and the specialist construction centre and creative arts studio at Great Yarmouth College.

The proposal to explore the partnership was approved by the two colleges' corporation board meetings last night. The colleges will now work together to create a plan to develop the partnership.

Dick Palmer, principal of City College, said: 'This is a fantastic opportunity to join up further and higher education in Norfolk.

'These are challenging times for the education sector and by joining together we can secure a better future for our current and prospective students across the county.'

Mike Field, chairman of governors at Great Yarmouth College, said: 'This partnership will help us to deliver a more responsive service to individuals and employers in the Great Yarmouth area, as well as working with City College Norwich to contribute to the development of world-class skills throughout Norfolk.'

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