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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
University to merge with college
Merthyr Tydfil College
The college and university have been in talks for two years
A Welsh university and further education college are to merge in what is thought to be the first time such an amalgamation has happened in Wales.

The University of Glamorgan, based at Treforest near Pontypridd, is joining forces with Merthyr Tydfil College.

Officials say it is to facilitate the "smooth transition" from further to higher education.

The merger is part of the university's expansion plans which include opening a campus in Cardiff city centre in 2007.

Professor David Halton, the vice-chancellor of the university, said: "We are committed to providing excellence in teaching and research across south Wales.

Prof David Halton (left) with Principal Howard Jenkins
Prof David Halton and Howard Jenkins have joined forces

"The merger will enable Merthyr Tydfil College to draw on the skills and resources of the university allowing us to develop jointly innovative and high quality course provision for people from all age groups and backgrounds and facilitate their transition from further education to higher education."

Talks about the merger have been ongoing for the past two years.

"We want to provide our students with the very best learning environment and this investment will enable us to do this - from Merthyr Tydfil down to Pontypridd and on into Cardiff," said Prof Halton.

"Glamorgan will be able to offer a fully integrated range of courses that meet the needs of students and employers demonstrating the vital role universities play in underpinning the Welsh assembly government's objectives for the social, economic and cultural regeneration of Wales," he added.

Howard Jenkins, the principal of Merthyr Tydfil College said: "This is a very exciting event which will make Merthyr Tydfil a 'university town'.

"Together we will maximise the opportunities for both further and higher education in the area, ensuring that local employers have a skilled workforce to draw on thus reinforcing the benefits for new businesses in relocating to the area.

University of Glamorgan
The merger is part of the university's plans to expand

"The merger fits perfectly with local partnership plans to establish a brand new lifelong learning campus in the town."

Education Minister Jane Davidson is due to attend the official merger ceremony later on Thursday.

"This merger will provide significant new learning provision for Merthyr Tydfil," she said. "The merged college will play an important role in the regeneration of the heads of the valleys area, as well as maximising opportunities for both individuals and businesses.

"In improving the skill levels of the workforce and to encouraging more people to take advantage of higher education, this development is much welcomed," she added.


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