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Strengthening the rural economy of Devon and Cornwall

The official launch of the partnership between The Cornwall College Group (TCCG) and Bicton College has been celebrated, with an event at Devon County Show.

Bicton-Duchy-Partnership

Amarjit Basi, Jane Townsend and Dr Phil Le Grice celebrate Bicton College and Duchy College Partnership at the Devon County Show 2015

The official launch of the partnership between The Cornwall College Group (TCCG) and Bicton College has been celebrated, with an event at Devon County Show. Specially invited guests and a number of industry partners attended the traditional cream tea; where the future plans and vision for the newly merged organisation was laid out.

The merger has created one of the country’s largest land-based providers of education and training; with over 1,200 acres of land in Devon and Cornwall being used for industry-based research and training.

Head of Rural Economy at The Cornwall College Group, Dr Phil Le Grice, said: “Partnerships, education and research are the keys to securing the future of the rural economy of the South West. Both Bicton College and TCCG have extensive links with local schools and employers across the region, and a shared passion for providing young people with the right skills: skills that meet the needs of industry.”

The Cornwall College Group currently has over 40,000 learners working towards a range of qualifications, including research masters and degrees; 2,000 of those students are specialising in the rural economy, to include food, agriculture and horticulture.

Dr Le Grice continued: “The merger gives us an opportunity to work more closely together to enhance the reputation of our land-based specialisms. Our partnership will extend choice and access to agricultural training, skills and study across Devon and Cornwall.

“We have already signalled our intention to increase participation in urban areas, such as Plymouth, through the project at Derriford and through our combined resources we are aiming to create a world class centre for applied research in the farming industry; further enhancing opportunities for growth in rural industries across the South West.”

In February 2014, Duchy College, through its Rural Business School, was the first land-based College in England to receive the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, for leadership of skills development across the region’s rural economy.

Regional Director of the South West NFU, Melanie Squires, said: “It is vital the South West has strong and viable land-based colleges to support our fantastic agricultural industry and its affiliated sectors, which are such an important part of the region’s economy. This merger will help to secure the future of both Duchy College and Bicton College, ensuring they prosper into the future and helping to raise the bar of academic achievement even further.”

Dr Phil Le Grice, concluded: “We are hugely grateful for the support we have received from organisations and businesses, such The NFU, Young Farmers, County Landowners Association, North Wyke Research, Plymouth University, Exeter University, and the hundreds of employers who have engaged with our apprenticeship programmes, too many to mention. We will continue to engage with them, growing and adapting our offer to the needs of the regional economy.”

For more information on the range of equine, agricultural, horticultural, early years, sport, public services and food courses on offer at Duchy College or Bicton College go to www.duchy.ac.uk or www.bicton.ac.uk or call 0845 60 50 455.

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