Colleges announce merger deal to create new RNN Group

Staff and governors celebrate the merger deal between North Notts College and Rotherham College
Staff and governors celebrate the merger deal between North Notts College and Rotherham College

North Notts College and Rotherham College have announced a merger to create an exciting new educational training group.

The new scheme will enhance opportunities for thousands of local people and help businesses recruit apprentices and develop their staff.

The new RNN Group (Rotherham and North Notts Group) is focused on Worksop-based North Notts College and Rotherham College’s Dinington and Rotherham town centre campuses.

RNN group teaches or trains more than 15,000 students each year, including more than 4,000 apprentices, is a major employer with over 1,000 staff and has an income of more than £45 million per year.

It delivers education, training and skills in most occupational areas, including Engineering, Construction, Health, Business, Digital, Creative Arts and many others including Hospitality and Land-based Studies.

The group will launch a new arm, called RNN Training, which will be focused upon meeting the needs of employers in Bassetlaw, Rotherham and more widely in the Sheffield City Region and East Midlands through recruiting school leavers and local people into apprenticeships and delivering high level skills training to employees.

John Connolly, chief executive of RNN Group said: “This is a vital time for Rotherham and South Yorkshire, with business growth and economic renewal to be

secured.

“The RNN Group will develop further the work of the two colleges to support employers develop the skilled workforce they need, and provide the link so that local people get the training they need to step confidently into career opportunities, bringing benefit to our local communities.”

Phil Sayles, deputy principal of RNN Group said: “As well as a real willingness to listen and respond to business needs, up-to-date training facilities and industry-qualified staff, RNN Training can connect businesses with many of the 5,000 16-18 year-olds and adults who study in the North Notts and Rotherham Colleges every year, developing excellent skills, which makes them ready to be really effective employees.

“We will help businesses in our area move forward.”

A second major area of development will be a rapid growth in degrees and other higher education courses offered at North Notts College, the Retford Post-16 Centre and in Rotherham, at Rotherham College and then at the proposed new Higher Education Centre on Doncaster Gate in the town.

AnnHardy, assistant principal for HE, said: “More Higher Education opportunities are essential for our local economy.

“Our courses, validated by major universities, are delivered locally, enabling people to combine study and advancing their professional careers with work and family responsibilities.

“HE and higher level skill courses will also help employers develop their staff so their businesses can be more effective and successful.”

The RNN Group also includes the National Fluid Power Centre, based in Worksop, which specialises in hydraulics, pneumatics and control systems, and works with over 300 businesses globally.

Also on board are national training providers Create Skills, located in Manvers, Rotherham, Charnwood Training, based in Nottinghamshire, and Aston Recruitment and Training of Northampton.

At the two major local colleges, Rotherham and North Notts, both rated as Good by Ofsted, it is very much business as usual, though vice-pincipal Paul Baylis wants more school leavers to consider whether college would be a good path for them.

He commented: “We recruit over a thousand new school leavers a year who learn great skills with us and then progress to jobs, university, into apprenticeships and to our own higher education offer.

“However, there are still a lot of young people who don’t get to hear much about the opportunities our colleges can offer and don’t join us until age 17 or later.

“After that, they get firmly on track.

“They learn in great facilities, are taught by well-qualified, caring, staff with business experience and take robust qualifications which are held in high esteem by employers and universities.

“Our students do work experience, have lots of contact with employers and the world beyond college, go on course-related trips and meet inspiring people, which all boost their confidence and make them ready for the next step.

“Working together under RNN Group will be great news for both colleges – we’ll have resources to develop what we offer even further and create new opportunities – studying at college is a smart choice.”