STAFFORD College has confirmed it has formally merged with Newcastle-under-Lyme College (NULC). The news comes as the corporation of Stafford College formally dissolved at 00:01am this morning, Tuesday, November 1, 2016, with all assets transferring to NULC. The newly merged group name is Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG). Both colleges will retain their individual name and branding, local identity and educational characteristics whilst bringing individual strengths and assets to the partnership. Karen Dobson, principal and chief executive at NULC, and newly appointed principal and chief executive of NSCG said: "By bringing the two colleges together, we will be looking to exploit economies of scale, share best practice and build upon our collective strengths to deliver the vision: to be the college of first choice, where staff and students are proud to work and study. "We will take a moment today to celebrate this significant milestone in the history of both institutions and then it will be back to business as usual – providing outstanding education and training to the communities we serve." The merger creates one of the largest educational providers in Staffordshire, supporting over 5,500 full-time students, over 3,000 part-time students, 750 students on higher education programmes and over 2,500 apprentices. Lesson delivery and the day-to-day running of courses will not be impacted as a result of the merger. The newly formed group will employ over 1,000 staff and has a combined turnover in the region of £45million, including NULC subsidiaries, Gradbach Limited and Axia Solutions Limited. George Stonier, chair of governors, said: "The merger follows an intense period of planning, public consultation and legal due diligence, which has culminated in the two institutions coming together with a newly formed corporation, board of governors and a single senior management team which will be under the strong leadership of Karen Dobson who has an excellent track-record as principal and chief executive of NULC. "This is the start of a new era for education in Staffordshire, and an exciting time for us all. Our newly formed, more resilient organisation will bring benefits not only to students, but to local businesses and the economy as a whole."