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Colleges will be grouped into six based on location

Northern Ireland’s 16 further education colleges are to merge into six area based groups according to Sir Reg Empey, the Minister for Employment and Learning. However, individual campuses will still operate under the mergers, and will continue to offer locally-based courses.

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Sir Reg said the mergers would benefit learners:”Working with their economic and educational partners, the new colleges will be at the forefront of ensuring that Northern Ireland has the necessary skills to compete in a modern, knowledge based, global economy.”

Chief executive of the Association of Northern Ireland Colleges, John DArcy said: “From a student and a customer point of view, it will be very much business as usual as the colleges dedicated and expert staff will ensure as smooth a transition as possible to the new look FE sector.”

From August 1, the new college groupings are as follows:-

-Belfast Metropolitan College, incorporating Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education and Castlereagh College of Further and Higher Education.

– North West Regional College will incorporate North West Institute of Further and Higher Education and Limavady College of Further and Higher Education.

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Northern Regional College will incorporate Causeway Institute of Further and Higher Education, North East Institute of Further and Higher Education and East Antrim Institute of Further and Higher Education.

Southern Regional College will incorporate Armagh College of Further and Higher Education, Newry and Kilkeel Institute of Further and Higher Education and Upper Bann Institute of Further and Higher Education.

South West College will incorporate East Tyrone College of Further and Higher Education, Fermanagh College and Omagh College.

South Eastern Regional College will incorporate East Down Institute of Further and Higher Education, Lisburn College of Further and Higher Education and North Down and Ards Institute of Further and Higher Education.

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