Job cuts may follow deficit of Pounds 647,000

March 31, 2000

Isle of Wight College, the island's only further and higher education establishment, is likely to cut jobs after announcing a Pounds 647,000

deficit.

The college has been beset by difficulties in recent years, and has had three principals in 18 months.

Employee Roy Ackerley is due in court soon, accused of false accounting and furnishing false information, charges relating to alleged applications for European Union contracts while he was a co-director of the Wight Management Agency, a division of the

college.

Financial figures for the year ended July 1999 show that over the previous two years the college has had to pay back more than Pounds 500,000 to the European Social Fund for income claimed for students not enrolled at the college.

The college is putting in place measures to achieve a significant reduction in its operating costs following talks with the Further Education Funding Council.

Staff have been told likely measures include a review of staffing levels, management restructuring, a review of employment contracts, a review of external services and funding pay increases from efficiency gains.

In a statement, the college appealed to islanders to use the college or lose it. "It is for the island's students, parents, schools, businesses and employers to recognise the college's importance to the island community and ... support their local college in its steady recovery."

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