More jobs pain to come at West Notts College

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More than 78 jobs are set to go in the next round of savings at Vision West Nottinghamshire College, it has been revealed.

The cash-strapped college’s interim principal Martin Sim has said the jobs in non-teaching roles would be axed in the first phase of his financial recovery plan.

But more job losses are expected later.

Mr Sim was appointed after long serving college principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka stepped down from her £262,000 per year role in October.

Speaking to your Chad this week he said: “My task here is to help the college recover from what is quite a significant financial issue primarily around cash.

“What I will be doing in the next three to eight months is to restructure the college in such a way as it will be sustainable for the population of Mansfield and Ashfield .

“One of the best assets of the college is its staff. The vast majority of staff have done and continue to do a really difficult job very well indeed and it is with regret because of financial circumstances we will have to lose a number of posts.

“We have structured this to have two phases of assessment of staff we need to lose.

“The first phase will see sadly 78 staff leave the college.

“We will try to mitigate that through voluntary severance arrangements.

“These posts are non-teaching posts.

“In this stage staff that are not involved with learner experience or indeed the teaching and learning side of the college.

“We are removing sections of infrastructure that had hitherto supported the apprenticeship provision and are no longer required.”

The financial crisis arose following changes to the way apprenticeships are funded.

The college was placed in ‘administered status’ and forced to seek additional exceptional financial support from the Education Skills Funding Agency.

Mr Sim said “The situation was a drop in income which saw the college drop from £51 million to just over £28 million which is quite a significant drop.

“The large proportion of the drop was through subcontracted apprentices which changes in guidance and funding methodology meant it would be impossible for the college to deliver the same volume it had hitherto have done.

“Unfortunately what the college has failed to do is drop its expenditure levels in line with that drop in income leaving a serious deficiency in cash and has required support from the funding agencies to pay its own way over the last few months.”

He added: “the college ought to have made significant adjustments to the way it managed a downsizing operation over the past three years.

“That not being done has led to the situation we have now where the college has to make significant financial corrections quickly.”

Mr Sim said the college would change its curriculum with an emphasis on servicing the needs of the the local population and ‘colleagues’ in industry and commerce.

He said: “I think there is a need for the college to re-base itself between the areas of Mansfield and Ashfield and support its local community.

“It is a very popular college for 16-18 year olds you can see that walking around the college seeing the numbers here and the happy faces.

“We need to make these learning opportunities and facilities more available to the local population.”

“It is a very important message for the people of Mansfield and Ashfield that this college is not going to go away.

“If you look at the size of the college - even if we withdraw subcontracted provision out of the income streams, this college’s size is around £28-9 million.

“That is still significantly bigger than most FE colleges in this country.

“The trick we have just got to make sure that we achieve is to manage our cash flow problems in the immediate future.

“We are getting fantastic help in that respect from Lloyds, our bankers and the funding bodies and the Government.

“With their continued support we will have a strong college which will be sustainable for future generations.”

See video interview with Martin Sim here