College job loss talks still ongoing

The Water Street entrance to St Helens College
The Water Street entrance to St Helens College
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BOSSES at St Helens College claim “significant progress” is being made in the bid to limit compulsory redundancies following a £4.1m funding cut.

Last month Anne McCormack, chair of the Water Street college’s Unison branch, revealed that 99 jobs were set to go - including dozens of teachers.

But consultations with staff and trade unions are ongoing and college chiefs say they are continuing to support a voluntary redundancy scheme.

Also, the St Helens Reporter was told last week that among the course areas rumoured to be hit was the motor vehicle body repair section.

A college worker from a separate department, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Those courses are very specialist and have been running here, in one form or another, since the 1960s. It’s a growth area in terms of jobs too.

“I know that students come from as far away as Cheshire to enrol on these courses because they are not available everywhere else. It would be awful if they were to go.”

But a spokesman for St Helens College denied that the section was due to be scrapped.

He said: “Normally the college would not comment on specific areas but we recognise decisions around the motor vehicle/body provision have been discussed within the local press.

“We have considered responses from the staff, employers, students and the unions and I can confirm that the college has resolved to retain the motor vehicle/body section, albeit on a marginally reduced and reconfigured basis.”

The spokesman added: “Following a reduction in funding of £4.1m for the next academic year the college is continuing to consult with trade unions and staff with regard to the numbers of redundancies required to meet the funding challenges. Significant progress is being made on reducing the impact of compulsory redundancies.”