31 jobs at risk at Mansfield college

West Nottinghamshire College principal Asha Khemka
West Nottinghamshire College principal Asha Khemka

Around 50 members of staff have been told they could lose their jobs at Vision West Nottinghamshire College after bosses took the decision to scrap some courses.

The Derby Road college plans to axe its provision in English as a second language (ESOL), counselling and business administration, due to declining student numbers in these areas.

The decision was made as part of an annual review at the college, which also said that the affected courses were not reaching acceptable completion levels from students.

A total of 31 jobs, the majority of them teaching, are expected to go when consultation ends on 10th July, although it is hoped that many will take voluntary redundancy, the college said.

Speaking about the decision, principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka (pictured) said: “These proposed changes are essential to maintaining our high standards of provision and ensuring the college remains financially strong.

“We recognise this is unsettling for those staff and students affected and we will be doing everything we possibly can to support them during this difficult time.

“Students on two-year courses will remain with us until they finish their studies while those due to complete their courses will be supported with their next steps and progression routes.

“Furthermore, we will do our utmost to minimise compulsory redundancies and are looking at a package of support for colleagues that are unfortunately made redundant including using our network of employers and partners to try and find them suitable alternative employment.

“Job vacancies within college will also be circulated to those staff affected prior to being advertised externally.

“While job losses are always regrettable, these changes are necessary for maintaining our high-quality provision and ensuring success rates are at an expected level, which is vital to providing the best possible experience.”

In July 2012, Chad reported that the college has slipped from ‘outstanding’ to ‘good’ in its last Ofsted inspection, but vowed to improve and regain top status.

At the time, inspectors said the college had many outstanding features but needed to improve some aspects of its teaching and learning.

And the decision to shut down courses in ESOL, business administration and counselling, which the college says are not working at an acceptable level in terms of student outcome, retention and completion, should help them regain an ‘excellent’ ranking when Ofsted return.

With ESOL courses, many students attend sessions in order to improve their English to help with their employability after moving to the Mansfield area.

But often students do not complete the courses and leave when they decide their English ability has improved to an acceptable level.

The college will continue to teach English as a second language through community education, which it says has proved more successful.

According to figures released by the college, 68 per cent of students succeeded with the counselling level two course, compared to 81 per cent nationally. With ESOL 66 per cent completed programmes compared with 86 per cent nationally, while business administration was just behind the national passrate of 66 per cent, at 63 per cent.

Through a separate review, all work-related training currently derived through subsidiary company Vision Workforce Skills will be merged with that of the college.

In total, 20 jobs are expected to go from the 1,000-strong workforce through the closure of the ESOL, counselling and business administration courses, and 11 from the merger.