Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Unions Fear Merger of Colleges Will Hit Jobs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Unions Fear Merger of Colleges Will Hit Jobs

Article excerpt

Byline: Sonia Sharma Reporter

UNIONS are seeking assurances over jobs after two colleges on opposite sides of the Tyne announced plans to merge.

South Tyneside College and Tyne Metropolitan College, which has bases in Wallsend and North Shields, have agreed in principle to progress merger proposals, and a consultation process is set to be carried out.

However unions fear the merger could bring about job losses and also want assurances that the standard of education will not drop.

A spokesman for both colleges said they were still in the early stages of discussions and were working closely with the unions and staff.

He added: "The colleges are examining this option to strengthen and protect education across both boroughs in response to national funding pressures, which point towards more being done with less.

"Our plans are a proactive response to the Government's area reviews into further education (FE), which commenced in the North East this month and are likely to advocate fewer, larger and more financially resilient colleges, with greater specialisation.

"Prior to the area review commencing, we informed Sir David Collins, the FE commissioner, about our discussions and the reasons for them and he has confirmed that he understands the basis for closer cooperation and supports our plans in principle. He has also accepted that they fit clearly into the concept of the area reviews.

"Individually, the colleges provide rich and fulfilling learning experiences to thousands of UK and overseas students each year, including through high quality apprenticeships, vocational and academic courses, and much more. We have achieved success by creating bespoke curriculums based around the needs of students and the region's employers. This has provided our students with the skills and qualifications to take their places in the modern workforce. …

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