Middlesbrough College has been confirmed as the latest new member of 157 Group, FE Week can reveal.

Zoe Lewis (pictured above), principal and chief executive, announced the news on the college’s website today.

It comes after the 157 Group exclusively revealed its expansion plans to FE Week in January and brings the total number to 31.

Ms Lewis said: “We are delighted to be selected to join the 157 Group.

“It’s recognition of the high quality training we provide and we look forward to working in collaboration with like-minded colleges to shape the future skills agenda and create a network of excellence across the country to support employers with their training needs.”

FE Week revealed on March 1 that City College Plymouth (CCP) had become the second college to join the 157 Group as part of its expansion plans.

The group’s chief executive, Ian Pretty said at the time he was “pleased to welcome” CCP, which was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted at its most recent inspection in 2012, “to our network of forward thinking, entrepreneurial colleges”.

That announcement came a little over a month after Cardiff and Vale College became the first college to join the 157 Group.

Reflecting on the latest announcement, Mr Pretty said: “Middlesbrough College embodies the 157 Group mission; it is employer facing, it is entrepreneurial and it has a deep commitment to improving the employment prospects of its learners.

“Middlesbrough College gives the 157 Group a presence in the North East, they have shown they are dedicated to their community and their region, investing in the most disengaged young people to improve their life chances through the MC Academy and shifting their offer to meet local economic needs which enhance their region’s economic competitiveness.

“They work with over 1,000 employers and have over 1,000 apprentices and have exciting plans for the years ahead. We can’t wait to get started working with them.”

A 157 Group spokesperson added: “Membership of the 157 Group is now 31 full members and two corporate partners. With the addition of Middlesbrough College we now have a presence in the North East meaning our network stretches across every region of the UK with partnership from business as well.

“We are a strong voice for our members and the FE sector as we seek to transform the UK economy through the delivery of high quality technical and professional education.”

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