Chichester College Group (CCG) and Greater Brighton Metropolitan College have formally merged.

The merger sees the CCG become the biggest college group in the south east region and one of the strongest in the country, providing high quality learning opportunities for more than 25,000 students.

It will see CCG’s family of five colleges – Chichester, Brinsbury, Crawley, Worthing and Haywards Heath – joined by Northbrook College and Brighton Metropolitan College.

Following the merger, Greater Brighton Metropolitan College has been dissolved, with the assets and liabilities transferred to CCG. The two colleges that were previously merged to create GB MET will return to local identities, as Northbrook College and Brighton MET College.

Andrew Green will continue to serve as the Group’s Chief Executive Officer. He said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Brighton MET and Northbrook College into our family of colleges to create a dynamic, strong and resilient college group.

“By bringing these colleges together, we are ensuring young people, apprentices and adults across the region can access a fantastic education, coupled with amazing student experiences which put them at the heart of everything we do.

“We have a shared vision of providing the very best technical, vocational, A-level and professional education for both our current and future students. By combining our extensive expertise, knowledge, resources and our passion for education, we’ll be supporting the current and future needs of our diverse communities.

“This wider group will be able to offer increased opportunities to students, along with employers and communities in our region.”

Dr James Sarmecanic, outgoing Chair of the Corporation of Chichester College Group, added: “We firmly believe this merger will create a compelling regional group of colleges, equipped to confidently meet the skills needs of West Sussex and Brighton & Hove – both today and in the future.

“Through this merger, we will expand our existing provision and progression pathways as well as facilitate closer collaboration with employers from a whole range of different industries, all to the benefit of our students.

We will retain agility to flex to the demands of local businesses, and combine our collective experience and knowledge to drive forward investment in young people, apprentices and adult learners across our region.

It is our aim to create sustainable and innovative education models, that encourage and stimulate growth while working in partnership with businesses and organisations to deliver employer-led training for the workforce of the future.”

Having come to the end of his tenure as Chair, Dr Sarmecanic is stepping down and will be succeeded by Helen Kilpatrick CB.

Across the group, there will also be some changes to individual college leadership teams.

Vicki Illingworth takes her place as Executive Principal and will lead a team of four principals across the group to ensure it delivers in its commitment to champion excellence in teaching and learning.

Brighton Metropolitan College will see a new principal at the helm as Paul Riley moves from Worthing College. He will also remain in place as principal at Haywards Heath College.

Helena Thomas will replace Paul at Worthing College, and continue in her role as principal at Northbrook College.

Elsewhere in the group, Sally-Challis Manning MBE will serve as principal at Brinsbury and Crawley College while Helen Loftus has been appointed principal at Chichester College, a role she has held on an interim basis since 2020.

Steve Coulthard remains in place as the group’s Chief Financial Officer, joined by Jon Rollings as Chief Operating Officer – a role he previously held at GB MET. Completing the senior leadership team will be Dan Power, who will take up the position of Chief Commercial Officer at the end of August.

Sue Berelowitz, outgoing Chair of the Corporation for GB MET, said: “Although we form one strong group, united in our total commitment to our students, we are committed to ensuring the provision at our colleges remain local.

“We will retain and enhance the local provision of our individual colleges, sharing the best practices while celebrating our unique identities and supporting our communities.

“Our colleges will remain dedicated to serving their local communities, ensuring each community has a college they can be proud to call their local college.”