120 college jobs axed

Sheffield College where 121 fulltime posts are to be made redundant in a cost cutting exercise

Sheffield College where 121 fulltime posts are to be made redundant in a cost cutting exercise

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MORE than 120 jobs are to go as part of expected £4 million funding cuts at Sheffield’s biggest further education college.

Lecturers and teachers, as well as support staff, will be hit by the plans - with a 90-day consultation period beginning this week.

The Sheffield College teaches around 17,000 full time and part-time students at four main sites around the city - Hillsborough, Norton, Peaks and the newly rebuilt Sheffield City College.

College managers fear 121 full time jobs will have to go by the summer - although final figures from the Government on its budget for 2011/12 have yet to be received.

Jobs at risk include those of lecturers, business support staff who liaise with potential employers, and workers in student services.

An enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme is to be offered while other employees will be asked to accept voluntary reductions in hours.

Some classes could also be scaled back as a result of the squeeze to reflect new national curriculum priorities.

There will be less central government cash available for courses in English for speakers of other languages, and classes which teach adults basic literacy and numeracy skills.

A college spokeswoman said: “These courses will be reduced but not scrapped altogether. This may result in larger class sizes and possibly charges for some learners which are currently attending for free.”

College principal and chief executive Heather MacDonald said: “The Sheffield College is committed to enhancing its efficiency so it is in a strong position to meet the financial challenges facing many public sector organisations within the current economic climate.

“We also need to be able to deliver on new national priorities, as well as striving to meet local skills needs, and continue to provide high quality provision for our students.

“We are consulting with the trade unions and our staff, and looking at different measures to avoid compulsory redundancies.”

Students at City College expressed concern over the job cuts.

Andrew Young, aged 17, from Shiregreen, who studies catering and hospitality, said: “I don’t think it’s right. It will affect students and more people will be out of a job. If they axe the teachers, then students might not be able to get on the course they want to study.

“If I want to go on a course next year I might not be able to do it because there’ll be fewer teachers.”

Penny Fearn, 16, from Boythorpe in Chesterfield, who studies animal management, said: “I feel concerned for the teachers losing out on money, and losing their jobs.”

And her friend on the same course, 16-year-old Ryan Raynes, from Richmond, added: “It might affect our lessons - they might not have enough teachers for our courses.”

Managers believe the 121 job cuts could be a worst case scenario, and point to a similar process currently underway at Rotherham College of Arts and Technology, which is grappling with a £2.5m deficit.

There, 70 job losses were originally predicted but the final figure is now expected to be far fewer.

Sheffield College still hopes to maintain some areas of growth during the next academic year.

They will include increased numbers of apprenticeships and more training for industries including advanced manufacturing, digital and creative, low carbon, and health and social care.

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