Consultation on polytech cuts finishes

Timaru's Aoraki Polytechnic
Timaru's Aoraki Polytechnic

The consultation period has ended for the proposed redundancy of seven fulltime positions at Aoraki Polytechnic, on top of 24 redundancies confirmed at the start of the month.

A proposal was presented to staff by acting chief executive Alex Cabrera on December 5, which would see the corporate and campus staff drop from 40.59 fulltime equivalent roles to 33.31.

Staff had until last Friday to make submissions, with a final announcement expected in January.

Mr Cabrera said he would consider the feedback when he returned to work on January 6.

"It will depend on feedback and the ideas that come forward to determine what roles are affected," he said.

"I am hoping by the end there will be more certainty, it is not an easy time of year to be doing this for anyone. But we have to do it because we want a polytechnic in Timaru. If we didn't do it the future would be very uncertain."

The first restructure was presented to staff in October, with submissions closing on November 8. The final proposal would mean a total of 38 positions will be disestablished, to be replaced by 14.

Mr Cabrera said there was no set date for when these redundancies would take effect, with people currently being interviewed for the new roles.

"We are still doing interviews, I did not want to drag people back from their holidays for an interview."

The polytechnic was facing a third year of student losses and a second annual deficit. The polytechnic council was considering options to address those challenges, with consulting firm Deloitte brought in to assist with the restructure.

The second restructure would see a large number of executive roles disestablished.

To go are the deputy chief executive, executive director, finance and planning manager, accounts payable, planning and analysis officer, compliance and audit officer, customer services manager, marketing and communications, along with Ashburton, Oamaru and Christchurch campus managers and administrators. These roles would be replaced with several restructured positions.

Mr Cabrera said when the proposal was released the restructure was unavoidable.

"Since 2003, Aoraki increased employee numbers and the overhead structure grew accordingly. As a result personnel costs have increased over the last 13 years from $4.98 million in 2000 to $11.4m in 2012, with most of the increase in administration staff costs."

Since 2000, Aoraki had its largest number of students in 2004 with 3458 equivalent fulltime students (EFTS) and it employed 139 staff. This year, with 1497 EFTS, there are 155 staff employed. The last time student numbers were at a similar level was in 2002, with 1459, when it employed only 92 staff.

A review of the courses being offered next year and the teaching staff was also likely.

The Timaru Herald