A unique collaboration for Huntingdonshire Regional College (HRC) will “herald a new era”, according to its new principal.

A unique collaboration for Huntingdonshire Regional College (HRC) will "herald a new era", according to its new principal.

Following months of talks, the Huntingdon-based higher education campus has announced that it is to form a partnership with Cambridge Regional College (CRC) in a move to improve skills and training in the area.

The new partnership will be overseen by CRC principal and chief executive Mark Robertson after regional college principal Susanne Stent stepped down from her role on October 28 to "pursue new opportunities".

Mr Robertson said: "The decision heralds a new era for both HRC and CRC with a clear determination to create and share very best practice and to build an outstanding organisation that will transform lives, address skills shortages and develop prosperity across the region."

As a part of the closer working arrangement a review of curriculums at the two colleges is set to take place which could see "some degree of specialisation, and the creation of centres of excellence".

"The partnership is designed to enhance learning and training opportunities for students and employers, and as such we will be reviewing the curriculum at both colleges and developing new courses to meet employers' skills needs across the region," Mr Roberston added.

Mr Robertson will be supported by CRC deputy principal Alan Jones, who will be based in Huntingdon for the majority of his time, after the college's deputy principal Alex Burghardt, also stepped down late last month.

Following her departure, Mrs Stent said: "The governing body of HRC believes this merger will put the college in a very strong position for the future. We expect that this collaboration will greatly enhance the learning and training opportunities available to local students, employers and communities, and will set the college on a clear path to becoming an outstanding organisation."

According to the colleges, the partnership will be seeking to develop and share best

practices.

Mr Robertson told The Hunts Post: "There will be increasingly likely levels of co-operation between the colleges which is likely to mean some cross-college working in future."

The announcement comes in the wake of redundancies at Huntingdonshire Regional College which saw nine job losses at the end of the last academic year.

A spokesman for the regional college said: "Only one of which was a member of teaching staff due to a diminished requirement for the course in the area.

"The measures taken followed a consultation process that commenced in June 2016 to deliver improved effectiveness of multi-disciplinary teams and work towards achieving a break-even budget for 2016/17."