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College hopes to absorb cuts with voluntary redundancies.

ONE of Wales' biggest colleges has revealed the steps it is taking to offset swingeing budget cuts.

Coleg Y Cymoedd has announced that 41 fulltime staff members have agreed to take voluntary redundancy, saving the college around PS1.3m a year.

There will also be a reduction in the number of part-time courses available from September 2015.

Coleg Y Cymoedd is the latest college to scale back jobs and courses as the funding crisis facing Wales' further education sector deepens.

The college entered into a voluntary redundancy process with staff in January following news the Welsh Government was reducing the further education budget by PS26m across the sector.

But the college said it had rejected 11 staff members' requests for voluntary redundancy because of their key experience and expertise. A further eight applications are on hold while it considers whether the posts can be filled from elsewhere within the college.

Coleg Y Cymoedd - which has five campuses in Nantgarw, Aberdare, Rhymney, Rhondda and Ystrad Mynach - serves around 20,000 learners and employs around 1,000 staff.

College principal Judith Evans said: "We are working hard to ensure that impact of these cuts is felt as little as possible by our learners.

"By entering into a voluntary redundancy process, we are able to make some contribution towards plugging the shortfall we will be left with as a result of these budget cuts, and we will ensure we do all we can to reduce costs by voluntary measures.

"We are also reopening the voluntary redundancy process once again to ensure we have maximised any potential cost savings."

Ms Evans added: "We have an extremely talented and committed team of academic and support staff at Coleg Y Cymoedd and we are doing our best to ensure that they feel supported and reassured during this period of change in order that they can continue to inspire and encourage our learners.

"The reduction in our part-time course funding is a blow for us but we will ensure we prioritise those courses that have a real impact on the economy and positive outcomes in an area where it is much needed.

"We are also hopeful that we will be able to secure some European funding to help increase part-time provision again in the future."

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: "The UK Government has cut the Welsh Government's budget by 8% since 2010-11. We have been clear about the financial challenges this has presented and the difficult decisions we've had to make.

"Further education colleges have been informed of their mainstream funding for 2015-16, which does include a reduction in funding. We will work closely with colleges on the potential impacts... We have been open with further education colleges in our discussions with them."

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Coleg y Cymoedd's campus at Nantgarw. Principal Judith Evans said they hope to get European cash for more part-time provision in the future

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 20, 2015
Words:484
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