First new member of 157 group announced since expansion plans unveiled to FE Week

Cardiff and Vale College (CVC) has become the first new member of the 157 Group since it exclusively revealed its expansion plans to FE Week following a strategic review.

The group’s chief executive Ian Pretty announced today that he was “pleased” to welcome CVC, which received a ‘good’ report from Welsh inspectorate Estyn in March last year, into what is a “growing, vibrant organisation”.

It comes after FE Week exclusively revealed on January 15 that 157 Group was planning to expand following a strategic review.

Chief executive Ian Pretty claimed in an interview that up to 15 colleges had already enquired about signing-up.

Mr Pretty, whose previous roles included senior roles in HMRC, the Cabinet Office and Capgemini, told FE Week at the time: “Our members have agreed that we should look to take on new member colleges.

“We have 26 members at present and there has been discussion over whether we want to have more or less in future. We decided to look at expanding.”

And after confirming CVC as a new member today, he said: “We are pleased to welcome CVCC as the newest member of the 157 Group.

“The group is a growing, vibrant organisation and we are ready to help deliver what government and employers need from the sector.”

Mr Pretty, who took over from executive director Dr Lynne Sedgmore in September, added: “I am delighted that we are getting a dynamic, entrepreneurial college as a new member and I look forward to working with them.”

CVC, which is also a member of Gazelle, was established in August 2011 as a result of the merger of Barry College and Coleg Glan Hafren.

The latest Estyn report said that it was in the top quarter of the largest colleges in Wales, with 10 sites located from Trowbridge in East Cardiff across to Rhoose in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Mike James, CVC principal, said today: “I am delighted that we are to become the latest FE establishment to join the 157 Group and that our commitment to being employer-facing and ensuring our learners are appropriately skilled and ready for work has been recognised by such a hugely influential UK body.

“The 157 Group is a forward thinking organisation whose priorities are closely aligned to ours.

“I have no doubt that working with the 157 Group and other member colleges will support us in shaping future skills needs to ensure the long-term economic capacity of the Welsh and UK economy.

“CVC is excited about the prospect of contributing to the vital work of the 157 Group — working with a wide range of stakeholders in the development of sustainable professional and technical skills, not just in Wales but across the sector; and of bringing examples of good practice back to our colleagues at other colleges in Wales and at Colegau Cymru to help influence and shape policy here in Wales.”

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