Coleg y Cymoedd has committed to putting its learners at the forefront of a new strategy in the face of severe budget cuts to the sector.
The college has agreed to release 41 full-time equivalent members of staff on a voluntary redundancy basis as part of a bid to combat the huge budget cuts facing the further education sector in Wales and save the college around £1.3million annually.
The college entered into a voluntary redundancy process with staff in January 2015 following the announcement that Welsh Government was reducing further education college budgets by £29.9million across the sector.
Coleg y Cymoedd, which has five campuses in Nantgarw, Aberdare, Rhymney, Rhondda and Ystrad Mynach, serves around 20,000 learners from across the Valleys and surrounding areas and employs around 1,000 staff.
Judith Evans, Principal at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “We are working hard to ensure that impact of these cuts is felt as little as possible by our learners. By entering into a voluntary redundancy process we are able to make some contribution towards plugging the shortfall we will be left with as a result of these budget cuts and we will ensure we do all we can to reduce costs by voluntary measures. We are also re-opening the voluntary redundancy process once again to ensure we have maximised any potential cost savings.
“We will continue our commitment to current and prospective learners by promising that our investment programme, which includes a state-of-the-art motor vehicle provision at its Ystrad Mynach campus, a railway centre of excellence at Nantgarw and a new town centre campus in Aberdare will continue in order to provide the best environment for them to prosper.”
The college has not agreed to the release of 11 staff members on a voluntary redundancy process on the basis that the experience and expertise of the individuals is required in order to continue our delivery of curriculum and support services to learners. There are also a further eight applications on hold while it considers if these posts can be filled from elsewhere in the college.
Like other further education providers across Wales, Coleg y Cymoedd has also received a 50% cut in funding for its part-time course provision. As a result there will be a reduction in the number of part-time courses available from September 2015 but the college is committed to ensuring that current learners are able to continue their studies.
Judith Evans continues: “We have an extremely talented and committed team of academic and support staff at Coleg y Cymoedd and we are doing our best to ensure that they feel supported and reassured during this period of change in order that they can continue to inspire and encourage our learners.
“The reduction in our part-time course funding is a blow for us but we will ensure we prioritise those courses that have a real impact on the economy and positive outcomes in an area where it is much needed. We are also hopeful that we will be able to secure some European funding to help increase part-time provision again in the future.”