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Recession blamed for college jobs axe

PUBLISHED: 16:44 06 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:45 12 August 2010

ANXIOUS staff are waiting to hear about their future after two colleges have announced more than 50 job cuts.

ANXIOUS staff are waiting to hear about their future after two colleges have announced more than 50 job cuts.

College bosses say that they were forced to make redundancies after funding to Bromley College and Orpington College was slashed by over £1.5 million.

About 44 jobs will go from Orpington College, the Walnuts, as it tries to plug a £1 million cut in funding from September 2010.

Orpington College Principal Simon Norton said: "Obviously this is disappointing, but this is a country wide phenomenon.

"There will be people going from across the college, but we don't want people to be alarmed. Although we may be losing about 40 jobs, we employ 400 people and there is a natural turnover in jobs, so other positions may become available."

A spokesperson for Bromley College said: "It looks like we will lose £500,000 from a budget of £20 million, which may result in the loss of seven teaching posts and three support staff."

Unison representative at Orpington College, Alan Copland, said his members were worried: "People are in general very concerned, as we still don't know how this will affect us."

The principal at Orpington, who only last month launched a £26 million campus, is facing a wall of cuts from his three main income sources.

The further education college will suffer a 17 per cent reduction from Bromley council for 16-18 year-olds, 10 per cent less from the government's Skills Funding Agency (SFA), and a further 12 per cent cut for apprenticeships.

The savings, which are being replicated around the country, may be a taste of things to come as all political parties have said that the budget deficit must be met by reductions in public spending.

Mr Norton says that whoever is in power after the general election must protect college provisions.

He said: "I would like to see further education given priority, because it is about investing in our future. Educating and training people is one of the best things that we can do in the recession."

Both colleges said that the range and diversity of the colleges won't be affected.

A spokesperson for the SFA said: "As independent organisations, training institutions, colleges and their corporations are responsible for determining the level and mix of their provision for adults within the funding available to them. We expect the way in which these are delivered to be reviewed to determine where efficiencies can be made."

tim.dickens@archant.co.uk

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