From education to employment

First college/provider partnership agreement announced.

North Hertfordshire College today announced that it has signed a groundbreaking ten year partnership agreement with national specialist training provider Carter & Carter Group plc.

The partnership, the first of its kind within the further education sector, will see Carter & Carter work closely with the college to strengthen its capacity to respond to the post Leitch environment. Discussions have been on going between the two organisations for some time and, at a special Governors meeting held last night, the Governors agreed to the partnership and welcomed the benefits that the agreement will bring to staff and learners.

As part of the partnership, the college will benefit from the training provider’s close links with major employers within the construction and motor vehicle industries in particular. Previously North Herts College did not have significant vocational skills capacity in some key LLSC priority areas. The new partnering agreement with Carter & Carter will enable the college to build new capacity in construction and engineering rapidly. In the past, the college might have been confident that it could build capacity incrementally over time, but given the need for rapid expansion to meet the local skills demand a more innovative and dynamic solution was needed.

The College will be responsible for learners, the quality of their experience and their wider educational development. Carter & Carter will become directly responsible for the staff and the skilled workforce needed to deliver construction and motor vehicle training. “Learners will get the best of all worlds,” said Fintan Donohue, Principal of North Hertfordshire College. “Carter & Carter work with a large number of national and international corporations and it will bring the most up-to-date thinking and technology to the new arrangement.”

Several Government policy initiatives have highlighted the intention to introduce greater contestability into the delivery of further education; this groundbreaking partnership arrangement is likely to signal a new era for the sector; with other colleges likely to follow suit and work more closely with large providers.

Fintan Donohue continued: “The strategic partnership with Carter & Carter represents a radical shift in mission and direction of North Hertfordshire College. In the post Leitch environment, community empowerment is no longer simply about participation, but is more about transformation and aspiration. At North Hertfordshire College we see private and public sector partnerships as the best route to achieving the commercial acumen, which is needed to position the College in the new markets that the sector must populate, if a UK skills revolution is to be realised.

“The partnering agreement with Carter & Carter is predicated on rapid growth, increased efficiency and exceptional student success. Carter & Carter will enjoy the confidence and support of the College.”

Peter Marples, Business Development Director of Carter & Carter, is delighted with the outcome of negotiations: “We announced to the market in October 2006 our intention to develop into this area of business which we believe will deliver significant organic growth. I am pleased to announce the completion of this agreement which will commence on the 1 August 2007.

“This is an exciting development, and a partnership we are sure will lead to further opportunity for both the college and ourselves. Above all, this partnership agreement will provide significant further opportunity for learners and for employers as part of the Leitch reforms.”

College partners have been informed of the partnership and Liam Sammon, the Area Director of Hertfordshire local LSC commented: “The LSC is always seeking new opportunities to improve and increase the learning options for the individuals, communities and employers it serves. This exciting new venture between Carter & Carter and North Hertfordshire College presents such an opportunity and I believe the Stevenage area is the ideal platform to launch the first of these partnerships between Carter & Carter and FE Colleges.”

A similar attempt by Carter & Carter to take over construction teaching staff at West Notts College failed earlier this year after teaching staff and members of UCU raised concerns about such a venture

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