JOB FEARS AT NRC CAMPUSES

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Staff at the Northern Regional College in Coleraine could be facing redundancy due to a reduction of over £4 million in funding from the Department of Education and Learning, The Times can exclusively reveal.

The proposed budgetary cuts would lead to job losses and could impact on services provided at the Northern Regional College which has campuses in Coleraine, Ballymoney, Ballymena, Larne, Magherafelt and Newtownabbey.

Staff members were notified of the position last week through a letter from College Chief Executive Terri Scott.

In the letter, the Chief Executive outlined that “a 15% cut in funding of DEL grants to the Northern Regional College for 2015-16 financial year would result in a reduction in funding in the region of £4.7m.”

The letter explained: “The Executive Management Team is currently examining options to align staffing levels with the proposed reduction in funding.”

In a statement to The Times yesterday, Ms Scott said: “The proposed scale of the funding cuts will have radical implications for further education and training.

“The Principal and Executive Management Team are currently meeting with public representatives to highlight the impact of these cuts.

“It is inevitable that the level and breadth of provision offered will be affected.

“We are currently exploring options for efficiencies, in addition to income generation.”

Earlier this year we revealed that a new £30 million college was in the pipe line with the Ballymoney and Coleraine campuses set to come together on one new site.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department for Employment and Learning said: “The Business Case for the proposed college capital development programme is still in preparation.

“The scale and scope of the development will be determined by the forecast demand across all curriculum areas and all existing college facilities for a number of years ahead and not just in the short term.

“It is not possible to predict what, if any, impact budget reductions might have on these plans. Irrespective of these measures any capital proposal must represent an affordable and value for money accommodation solution for the college.”

“The Further Education Colleges have been advised to undertake scenario planning in anticipation of reductions of up to 15% in allocations from the Department in 2015/16. This exercise is to assist the Department in its forward financial planning for that year. Final decisions have not been taken on next year’s allocations.

“It is inevitable that the level and breadth of provision offered will be affected.

“We are currently exploring options for efficiencies, in addition to income generation.”

Earlier this year we revealed that a new £30 million college was in the pipe line for the north coast.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department for Employment and Learning said: “The Business Case for the proposed college capital development programme is still in preparation.

“The scale and scope of the development will be determined by the forecast demand across all curriculum areas and all existing college facilities for a number of years ahead and not just in the short term.

“It is not possible to predict what, if any, impact budget reductions might have on these plans. The Further Education Colleges have been advised to undertake scenario planning in anticipation of reductions of up to 15%.”