Weston College and the University of the West of England have announced that they are to create an Institute of Professional Education.

The move comes after the College strengthened its ties with UWE Bristol last November, when it was announced that the College had earned university centre status with the institution.

The idea behind creating the Institute is to provide learners and employers with a single organisation from which they can address all of their current and future educational and skills needs. The organisation will also provide learners with clear routes of progression between Further and Higher Education.

Dr Paul Phillips OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College, said: “I sit on numerous boards in terms of looking at the development of education in the region, and there’s one common theme that emerges: meeting the skills needs of businesses and employers.

“I don’t believe there’s an institution in existence that can meet all of an employer’s requirements on its own because when it comes to meeting skills needs, you have to take a bit of Further Education, a bit of Higher Education and all the constituent parts of the two and combining them into an overarching learning concept dedicated to directly responding to the skills needs and working as a partnership to address them.”

Dr Phillips went on to say that the partnership has the potential to be extended to include other institutions in the near future.

Professor Steve West, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West of England, said: “The future is about us developing and equipping young people with the right skills, knowledge and attributes to be able to enter the workplace and make a positive contribution to society.

“I’m delighted that we have now developed a relationship with Weston College that builds pathways to allow us to ensure that we build the skills and qualifications at all levels that will lead directly to jobs.

“The technical and professional education taught at Weston College will lead into degree level education delivered by UWE Bristol. Together we’ll be able to provide fantastic opportunities for young people to get the jobs that they need, and that we desperately need them to get.”

The partnership in the medium term will focus heavily on apprenticeship development within the region with clear progression routes from intermediate through to degree apprenticeships being established in most key technical and professional disciplines.

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