South West Wales

Coleg Sir Gar merges with University of Wales: Trinity Saint David

Image caption Coleg Sir Gar has campuses at Carmarthen, Llandeilo, Ammanford and Llanelli

A university and college merger will create a "radical new" education system helping 25,000 learners in south west Wales, says its vice chancellor.

Further education college Coleg Sir Gar in Carmarthenshire has joined the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David Group.

The university's vice-chancellor said it would benefit learners, employers and the local economy.

It is the latest in a line of educational mergers in Wales.

Coleg Sir Gar which has five campuses formally merged into the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David Group (UWTSD) earlier this month following Swansea Metropolitan University which joined in October 2012.

UWTSD was formed in November 2010 from the merger of Trinity University College and University of Wales Lampeter. It has campuses in Carmarthen, Lampeter and London.

'Improve opportunities'

The move means the institutions will provide courses from post-14 education to degrees over 15 campuses.

Vice chancellor Prof Medwin Hughes said Coleg Sir Gar's identity will not be lost as part of the merger and neither would its campuses at Carmarthen, Llandeilo, Ammanford and Llanelli.

A more joined-up education system including input from local employers would lead to benefits for everyone, he said.

"We are creating a radical new system of education for Wales that will transform, shape and develop the communities we serve," said Prof Hughes.

"The UWTSD system is comprised of universities and colleges committed to educating students of all ages and backgrounds and stimulating economic development in our region."

Coleg Sir Gar principal Barry Liles added that at the heart of the development was a strategy to improve opportunities for learners at all levels across the region.

New Education Minister Huw Lewis said: "By bringing together further and higher education in this way, this new institution will be able to offer learners a whole range of different opportunities and build on vital partnerships within the business community."

In 2010, the former minister Leighton Andrews warned universities their future funding, including being allowed to charge higher tuition fees, would depend on a willingness to "progress swiftly to merger and reconfiguration".

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