Ironic Cuts

Oatridge College in West Lothian, Scotland’s largest centre for further education and training for the landbased industries, has confirmed that it is seeking voluntary redundancies amongst staff in a bid to cope with a sharp reduction in income.
Like every college in Scotland, Oatridge is being forced to make savings in the face of 15% budget cuts. Discussions have been held with staff about voluntary severance, but Oatridge Principal David James has made it clear that if the exercise is unsuccessful, the possibility of compulsory redundancies cannot be ruled out.
Mr James said: “The Board of Management is looking at a whole range of options, but our priority is to find the least painful solution for staff and one which will have the least effect on our students and potential students. At the same time, we have to do what is best for the long term good of Oatridge College.
“It is ironic in the extreme that at a time when the demand for student places looks likely to increase again, we find ourselves in this position. Last year applications rose by 185% and we had to turn hundreds of people away. There is every indication that applications will be up again this year.”
The announcement comes less than a month since Oatridge received a glowing report from HM Inspectorate of Education highlighting its success in maintaining high levels of retention and attainment by its students. Official figures show that the landbased industries in Scotland will need 22,000 new workers by 2017.

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