Aoraki Polytechnic to cut 24 jobs

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 14:34 04/12/2013
aoraki polytech
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ
Timaru's Aoraki Polytechnic

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Aoraki Polytechnic has announced today 24 jobs will be cut with further redundancies signalled.

A restructure was presented to staff in early October with submissions closing on November 8. Today, the proposed structure, which retains three more positions than originally planned, has been announced.

Overall 38 positions will be dis-established to be replaced by 14 positions.

Challenging times have hit the polytechnic, which is facing its third year of student losses and its second annual deficit.

The polytechnic council has been considering options to address challenges faced by the institution, with consulting firm Deloitte brought in to assist with the restructure.

Last week amalgamation was ruled out.

The new structure will see four separate schools within the polytechnic combined into one. The four heads of school positions will be dis-established and led by one new role. Eight portfolio managers will be created.

A number of office managers and administration roles would go also. The dates for termination of roles and the recruitment for new roles will be announced later.

Two further reviews were also occurring, one with all other support staff being carried out by Deloitte and another a review of the courses being offered next year.

Tertiary Education Union (TEU) organiser Kris Smith was critical of the restructure process.

''The whole process has been badly managed. We have found out about meetings at the last minute. It has taken almost a month for decisions to come out.

''A number of staff have already gone. Members feel the organisation is leaderless and the restructure is just one person's vision created with Deloittes, not senior staff.

''Confidence that the acting chief executive is getting it right is severely diminished.

''The administration and support staff cuts have been far too deep.''

Acting chief executive Alex Cabrera said discussion with the TEU had seen two positions retained and another three created than originally proposed.

''While any restructure is a stressful and difficult one for all concerned, I think the outcome of this stage of it shows the value of a considered, consultative process.

''I would like to thank those staff who provided feedback, and also the Tertiary Education Union for their comments and the support they have provided to their members.

''It has taken me time to announce a decision because of the consideration I have given to the feedback received. As a result, some new positions were created and others were kept.''

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The Aoraki Polytechnic Council has endorsed the proposal, he said.

''In developing this model, I had input from senior academic staff, and from polytechnics which have also adopted similar models.''

''I am sincerely sorry that some individuals will be affected, it is never easy to have to face this sort of change, particularly at this time of the year. However, these changes are necessary for the future of the organisation. My intent is to redeploy internal staff into the new positions to mitigate the impact on staff.''

Corporate support structures are also being reviewed, and proposed changes have been put out for consultation with staff to seek their feedback, before decisions might be made.

''I realise this is an unsettling time for everyone and I'm hoping to complete the reviews and any potential changes soon.

''Students can be assured that processes will be in place to mitigate any potential impact from these changes.'

- © Fairfax NZ News

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