Chesterfield College principal Trevor Clay, who is battling to mitigate the impact of up to 70 job cuts on staff and students, has revealed why he believes redundancies are necessary and unavoidable.
Mr Clay told the Derbyshire Times how the college has experienced a reduction in the number of 16-18 year-old full-time students and has seen an increase in demand for training from businesses for their staff and apprentices leading to a need for different types of college staff.
In addition, he claims Government cutbacks, contributing to a £4m college shortfall, have reduced public funding which has been further reduced for the college because of its lower levels of 16 to 18 year-olds.
Mr Clay said: “Redundancies have come about as a result of falling numbers of full-time 16 to 18 year-old students which has reduced the need for full-time staff.
“But we’re growing with employers wanting employees up-skilling and training and we’re delivering education for a different type of person so our staff has to be re-shaped.”
Mr Clay revealed some college staff have already agreed to take voluntary redundancies leaving up to 15 full time lecturers and other support staff still facing compulsory redundancies while redeployment is being considered.
But he claims a major multi-million pound contract to deliver training for employers with greater demand in this area will create demand for more staff of a different type in the future.
Mr Clay also offered assurances that a reduction in the numbers of full time students means will allow the college to keep delivering the same range of quality courses.
However, changing Government policy is expected to mean that students aged over 24 will be expected to pay full fees.
Some have criticised the decision to bring in job cuts after the college recently underwent a revamp with a £3m reception area which was part-funded but Mr Clay feels this will attract students and help retain staff.
He said: “There is a need for the college to be attractive and functional to keep attracting students. We think it’s necessary to provide and maintain a first class facility for years to come.”