SOUTH Worcestershire College and Warwickshire College Group have announced they are working towards a merger.

South Worcestershire College, which has campuses in Evesham and Malvern, has been looking at merger options since last year and has selected Warwickshire as the preferred merger partner.

David Ansell, interim principal at South Worcestershire College, said: “We believe that this proposed merger is good news and will ensure the long term future of South Worcestershire College and allow it to continue meeting the local needs of individuals, employers and communities.”

Warwickshire College Group already has a presence in Worcestershire with Pershore College and the two organisations hope the merger will further increase opportunities for their students.

Angela Joyce, group principal and CEO of Warwickshire College Group, said: “We are delighted that South Worcestershire College has chosen us as their preferred partner for a merger.

"The merger will enable a more extensive and coherent apprenticeship, further and higher education offer in Worcestershire, developed alongside employers and partners across the region.”

The college, which is one of the smallest general FE Colleges in the country, undertook a structure and prospects appraisal before choosing Warwickshire College Group.

The merger plans have been given the go-ahead by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the FE Commissioner and detailed proposals will be available early in 2016.

The news appears to bring to a close other merger options which included previous talks between South Worcestershire College and Heart of Worcestershire College to create a county-wide organisation.