A merger looks certain to take place next year between the two rival bodies representing the further education sector. The boards of the Association for Colleges and the Colleges Employers Forum will meet early this month to approve merger proposals.
It is understood that an independent merger committee will be chaired by Ken Ruddiman, chief executive of Sheffield College.
The merger will be welcomed by college managers who have complained that two lobbying organisations were hampering the promotion of the sector.
Anthony Colton, president of the Association of Principals of Colleges, said principals would support the merger. He also revealed that his own organisation is considering a merger with the Sixth Form Colleges Association.
"It makes sense to bring together the two competing forces into one over-arching body," Mr Colton said. "It will also reduce colleges' subscription rates."
The APC would continue to exist to protect the interests of principals and chief executives, Mr Colton said.
The chairs and chief executives of the AFC and CEF have already met to discuss how to work together. There is said to be considerable agreement between the two organisations.