Huge cuts to UCOL

Jobs and training programmes at UCOL are on the chopping block after the polytechnic lost out to private training providers in a bid for millions in government funding. 

Chief executive Paul McElroy said the $2.6m funding snub will result in as many as 33 job losses, amounting to eight per cent of staff.

The loss of its Student Achievement Funding (SAC) allocation for level one and two courses from the Tertiary Education Commission will also affect 19 training programmes and UCOL will offer training to 375 fewer fulltime equivalent students next year across its Palmerston North, Whanganui and Wairarapa campuses. 

Mr McElroy said staff were notified this afternoon and the polytechnic's management is now entering a period of consultation with staff and student leaders over losses.

''UCOL will be making changes to align with government funding priorities and the reduction in revenue. These changes include proposing that some programmes will not be offered and staffing changes and operation savings are made that reduce our costs by $2.6 million,'' Mr McElroy said. 

Final details are yet to be finalised, but UCOL has confirmed that 17 per cent of its total programmes, including the Certificate in Fashion and Beauty and its Certificate in Tertiary Study skills, both of which are designed to help school leavers access higher education and employment, are among the courses proposed to be cut.

Final decisions will be made by the end of this year after consultation with UCOL students and staff, following rubber stamping of final funding allocations for 2013 from the TEC.

UCOL was among several polytechnics nationwide that missed out on a slice of $40m in SAC. The funding was offered for tender for the first time this year to private training providers offering level one and two programmes.

Of the 24 providers nationwide that will receive SAC funding in 2013 - only six of them are institutes of technology or polytechnics. One is a Wananga and 17 are Private Training Establishments.

Manawatu Standard