A TIE-UP between the Isle of Man College and the University of Chester means local students will be able to study for a wider range of courses without leaving the Island.
The Isle of Man College, situated in Homefield Road in Douglas, became an Associate College of the university from Thursday 1 April.
The accreditation follows an inspection of the college conducted by senior officials from the university and comes after a successful 10-year partnership between the two learning centres that initially saw degree courses offered in public health and, over time, expanded into other areas.
The college now offers full University of Chester undergraduate degrees in computing, history, Manx studies, heritage and the Manx Qualified Teacher Status programme, a course designed to provide the professional training necessary for new primary school teachers on Island.
Most recently, the college also had the Work Based and Integrative Studies (WBIS) framework validated. This allows the development of vocational foundation and full degree programmes and has led to a new foundation degree in policing, which is being taken by all the most recent recruits to the Isle of Man Constabulary.
Professor Ronald Barr, Deputy Principal of the Isle of Man College, said: ‘The Associate College status brings us an even closer and more collaborative relationship with the university and this new relationship will give local people further opportunities to study for a range of University of Chester degrees without leaving the Island.
‘This new status reflects the university’s confidence that the college has the staff and resources to deliver both full and foundation degree programmes to the required UK standard,’ he said.
‘This enhanced status for the college is testimony to the hard work and professionalism of staff over a 10-year period. We are very much looking forward to working more closely with the university and developing further higher education provision to support the Manx economy and the Island community.’
Education Minister Anne Craine MHK said: ‘The strong relationship that we have developed with the University of Chester over the years, which has culminated in our becoming an Associate College, is a proud moment in the life of the Isle of Man College.
‘As well as providing degree courses for students, who are attaining excellent standards, we have established a professional friendship with our colleagues in Chester. They recognise the high levels of academic attainment that our lecturing staff expect from our students in the Isle of Man and the achievement of this formal association is founded on a mutual understanding and respect.
‘I offer my congratulations to all those at the Isle of Man College who have worked so hard to gain this recognition.’
Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, said: The university and the Isle of Man College have long acknowledged the importance of lifelong learning being accessible to the wider community as a shared priority and value.
‘Awarding Association College status can only bring further mutual benefits for the two institutions as our long-established working relationship develops to include opportunities for joint fieldwork and research projects.’