Glyndwr University is to validate higher education courses run by the international recruitment company, A4e.
The university said that the partnership would help people into work and tackle “social exclusion and generational worklessness”.
Glyndwr will train A4e staff so that they can give higher education to unemployed people.
Michael Scott, Glyndwr’s vice-chancellor, said that it would validate “as many [people] as possible as long as we can keep the quality”.
“There are people out of work that need re-skilling,” he said. “[We are] working with a company that is dedicated to getting people into employment.”
A4e’s business is largely based on government contracts to get jobless people into work. It currently provides further education, but the partnership with Glyndwr would allow it to offer higher education for the first time, said Professor Scott.
A4e – led by millionaire chairman Emma Harrison – has faced questions over its activities from bloggers and the media, and was the subject of a Department for Work and Pensions investigation in 2009 after employers’ signatures were found to have been falsified.
Professor Scott said that Glyndwr would provide training to “upgrade” the skills of existing A4e teachers.
He said the centres would face a “continuous” inspection regime from Glyndwr.
The scheme would begin by training hundreds of people largely in Wales, but then could grow to thousands, and Glyndwr might follow A4e’s business into Europe.
“We’re going to be very disciplined and very measured,” said Professor Scott.
“We have got to work out the financials on both sides,” he continued, but added that “financially this will be beneficial for both Glyndwr and A4e.”
The deal is subject to ratification by the governance boards of both Glyndwr and A4e.