Around 130 jobs could go at the University of Sunderland as it bids to save £8million

University of Sunderland
University of Sunderland
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About 130 jobs could go at the University of Sunderland as it bids to save £8million.

In an email to staff seen by the Echo, the university’s chief operating officer Steve Knight said that falling students numbers as well as student withdrawls had contributed to the need to make cuts.

Mr Knight said a review will now be carried out to see how additional savings of £8million needed for the 2016/17 financial year can be made.

The savings are split into £5million on staff and £3million in non-staff areas, which would include the university’s estate/buildings and other running costs.

The email from Mr Knight says the university currently employs around 465 academic and research staff, and 1,095 professional support, technical and administrative staff across its Wearside and London sites. It added that all staff not considered ‘academic’ would be part of the review.

Mr Knight said within the message that management would be working with trade unions to explore “all possible alternatives to compulsory redundancies”.

University Vice-Chancellor Shirley Atkinson said there was a need to “streamline our operation.”

The email said: “The Vice-Chancellor set out in her last message that three factors have adversely affected our financial performance in the current year: significantly lower than planned recruitment of international students, slightly lower students recruited from the UK and EU (primarily due to declining demographics in the North East), and higher than anticipated student withdrawals and non-returners in some areas of the institution.

It added: “We anticipate that the £5m target saving will equate to staff reductions across senior management, professional, support, technical and administrative functions of around 130 staff.

“I am aware that a change programme of this nature can be unsettling for staff. Our University has a strong track record in handling staff changes in an open and fair way and we are committed to working closely with our local trade unions to explore all possible alternatives to compulsory redundancies and to ensuring staff who may be affected by the changes are fully supported throughout.”

According to the email, a number of staff briefings will now be held across university campus sites in July where the changes will be explained.

University of Sunderland Vice-Chancellor, Shirley Atkinson said: “The University is realigning its business model to ensure we continue to deliver excellent teaching and learning to our students and can continue to compete in the highly competitive Higher Education market.

“Universities across the country and within our region have already embarked on projects of this nature. We operate in a highly commercial market and need to streamline our operation in line with modern business practices, to make sure we create the headroom to invest in those areas of activity that deliver real value for students.”