Northern Ireland

80 staff face redundancy due to Del budget cuts in 2015/16

Adult classroom Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Teaching jobs and services are at risk due to budget cuts

Eighty jobs are at risk in Northern Ireland's regional colleges, staff have been told.

Sixty lecturers and 20 support staff jobs may be lost due to expected budget cuts in 2015/16, according to one college's message to staff.

"Unprecedented" budget cuts are expected next year, a Department for Education and Learning (Del) spokesperson has said.

The department has asked colleges to urgently identify savings.

Gerry Campbell, chief executive of Colleges Northern Ireland, which represents the six regional further education (FE) colleges, said the 10-15% cuts suggested by Del will force staff redundancies and a reduction in services.

Together the regional colleges cater for more than 90,000 learners, from 16 upwards.

Education funding for 16 to 18-year-olds studying in schools comes from a different government department and is protected from the cuts.

The regional colleges cater to many school-leavers aged 16 to 19.

Mr Campbell said that the colleges provide vocational training and have close ties with local businesses.

He added: "A cut in the budget for FE will have a devastating knock-on impact to the economy."

A Del spokesperson said that next year's budget had not yet been agreed, but added: "Emerging information suggests that cuts to Del's budget next year could be unprecedented."

As a result they have asked to the colleges to "urgently begin the process of identifying possible savings options for next year."

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