YOUNG people of Bolton are invited to get in the zone and fulfil their potential.

The University of Bolton, Bolton College and Bolton Sixth Form have formed the Bolton Education Zone Partnership to ensure the town’s students are on the path to a bright future.

The development of a new multimillion pound campus to house Bolton Sixth Form College and Bolton College in Deane Road, opposite the University of Bolton, has created an education village.

Leaders from all three have pledged to work together to open up more opportunities for students.

Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, Dr George Holmes, said: “It is our great privilege to be at the centre of a learning hub that has greatly benefited from such significant financial investment.

“But the future wealth of our town lies in our young people and it is our institutions’ investment in working together that can build the best, supportive pathways for their future success.”

Already they have agreed how to further raise standards.

Working together, the three organisations have signed up to: Å Fill the gap left in Bolton by the abolition of the Aimhigher university access scheme by developing local activities that encourage young people to consider higher education Å Investigate sharing facilities in the future; for example, Bolton College and the university are looking at new automotive studies opportunities with a potential new-build on Deane Road Å Look at closer collaboration in the development of health and sports programmes now based in the new £31m Bolton One centre.

Å Ensure that progression routes between levels and institutions are clearly explained to college learners.

Principal of Bolton Sixth Form College, Steve Wetton, said: “Historically, the majority of students from the Sixth Form College progress to university, but increasingly students are looking for good local provision; high quality degree courses with easy access and offering good value for money.

“Through working closely with our partners in the Bolton Education Zone we hope to inspire and motivate many more students to take advantage of the tremendous benefits which come from obtaining degree level qualifications.”

Principal of Bolton College, Marie Gilluley, added: “Many employer now report that they need to recruit people with higher level skills and Bolton’s employers are no exception.

“A higher-level qualification is one of the best assets a young person can have in entering the job market.

In working with the University of Bolton in the Bolton Education Zone partnership we want to show our students how they can achieve this, without having to move away from Bolton, by studying at Bolton College and at their local university.

“There are many more routes into higher education than used to be the case, and the vocational courses offered by Bolton College will enable our students to fulfil their ambitions and still have the ability to work if they wish.

“Working within the Bolton Education Zone partnership and with local employers we are also looking at developing new courses, for example in science and technology subjects, to provide even more opportunity in the future.”

Leader of Bolton Council Cllr Cliff Morris attended the launch of the partnership and said: “We are delighted to see our colleges and our university working together to create a brighter future for the young people of Bolton.

“These are tough times and the economic pressures under which we all operate affect young people, their families and, of course, our education providers.

“By working together we can find ways of supporting, developing and moving forward. Bolton Council wishes this partnership every success.”