FIFTY jobs will go as Kirklees College looks to make £3 million savings.
And college bosses described it as “year one of a series of cuts”.
They’ve said a government funding squeeze had led them to make decisions to centralise services.
But the cuts mean that the equivalent of 50 full time jobs will be lost from a 1,400-strong workforce of both full and part-time staff.
Among the cuts are:
A reduction in childcare places offered at main centres and the withdrawal from all community crèches where the college provides courses.
Jobs to go among administrative, nursery and crèche staff.
All services, mainly adult courses, at the college’s Holmfirth Centre axed once classes finish in July.
Services to be centralised at fewer locations.
Asked about future cuts, principal Chris Sadler said: “There will be more changes to the way we deliver in line with what the government signals in terms of funding.
“This is year one of a series of cuts.
“What we are trying to do is soften that over a period of years.”
Bosses hope to find the 50 posts through voluntary redundancy and are in talks with the unions. Other jobs lost are expected to be among business support.
Some of the services and courses to be cut were promoted in the college’s bid for a new £73 million campus off Chapel Hill, which opens in September 2012.
The college has also agreed to continue sponsorship of Huddersfield Town into the 2011/12 season, at a cost of £75,000.
Mr Sadler added: “The college gets 80% of its total funding from government sources. We have no other option but to make cutbacks.
“A few years ago the Secretary of State for education, Alan Johnson, used the phrase “plumbing not pottery” and they haven’t changed that idea.”
Mr Sadler and vice-principal Melanie Brooke said they needed to make financially viable decisions, with the college’s focus on “high quality vocational and skills training that meets the needs of businesses”.
Melanie Brooke added: “With tightening budgets we just can’t go on trying to be all things to all people.
“We want to ensure that the students have excellent teaching facilities and resources and, to achieve this, sadly we will have to reduce some opportunities which are no longer government priorities.
“Over the next 12 months the college will see significant changes which will include staff restructuring and the repositioning of some centres as specialist centres. We already had plans to develop certain centres that we own and rationalise others.
“In difficult times, our focus is rightly on the areas of greatest need benefiting the greatest number of students.”
Yesterday a protest was staged outside the soon-to-be closed Holmfirth centre, where courses include gardening, creative writing and upholstery.
College bosses said they understood closing the Holmfirth centre was an “emotive issue”, but they made the decision reluctantly due to falling student numbers.
Kirklees College say it is too expensive to maintain and fee income is not sufficient to justify continuing classes there.
But they hope the government’s Big Society might inspire the community to take over the centre.
See the next page for OFSTED's verdict on Kirklees College
EDUCATION watchdog Ofsted has branded Kirklees College “inadequate”.
During an April visit inspectors reported some aspects of the college’s provision were satisfactory, but deemed other elements to be inadequate.
But as the Dewsbury and Huddersfield sites merged in 2008, Ofsted could only look at data from 2009-2010.
The college says some courses which were reviewed had already been cut, meaning some of their progress over the last 12 months was not taken into account.
Vice-principal for curriculum, Andrea Machell said of the report: “Due to the process by which Ofsted assess an educational establishment’s data, this judgement was based on historic student results, not current data.
“I am disappointed that Ofsted could not give the college credit for the improvements it has made and does not reflect some of the outstanding course provision, for example Animal Care and Foundation Learning.
“The inspectors assessed a relatively small proportion of the college and the provision we assessed as outstanding or good wasn’t assessed.
“I do not think their report reflects the whole picture for our college, and certainly doesn’t reflect where we are now.”
The Ofsted report – which gave an overall rating of inadequate – highlighted areas of improvement, including student retention.
The college has already reviewed the curriculum, improved teaching and training, boosted student support and implemented an attendance and progress monitoring scheme.
The college and its students were praised for dedication to volunteering, the community and charitable work.
And the college was said to have “satisfactory and improving” partnerships with outside links, while it was advised to continue to build on its business links, steering teaching towards skills needed by local companies.