UNION and employer delegations from further education are poised to beseige the incoming education secretary with urgent demands for more money to avoid massive job cuts.
John Brennan, the Association of Colleges director of FE development, said that the numbers of colleges officially classed as being financially weak had trebled between 1994 and last year. He said that 15,000 lecturing jobs had been lost since incorporation in 1993 and that thousands more could go over the next year.
Figures reveal that most colleges face more efficiency gains, averaging 7.6 per cent in 1997/98. Nearly nine out of ten colleges face cuts to next year's budgets, amounting to the equivalent of axing funding for 40,000 full-time students.
John Akker, Natfhe general secretary, said: "FE is like a supertanker and if it's heading towards the rocks it takes a lot of stopping. We will be seeking a very early meeting with the education secretary. If it's a Labour government then one of the biggest issues will be what can be done for further education in the July budget."
Judith Norrington, director of curriculum and quality for the AoC's, said: "Funding is going to have an impact on students soon."