DOZENS of jobs at Sunderland College are today under threat, it has been revealed.
Bosses said that as part of a new restructuring process, more than 40 full-time roles could go.
It is understood that the move is set to affect mainly non-teaching positions.
A 45-day consultation process, involving almost 200 members of staff, has now started, with voluntary redundancy on offer to those wishing to leave the organisation, which caters for nearly 5,000 students.
Principal Anne Isherwood said: “This is clearly an unsettling time for everyone at Sunderland College, especially those directly affected by the review.
“Our main priority is to ensure the process is as smooth as possible, and we’ll be working closely with staff to offer them advice and to guide them through next steps.
“Face-to-face group briefings have already begun, and we will be running HR surgeries for anyone who would like to ask questions, ensuring the process is as transparent as possible.”
Barry Campbell, Sunderland representative for the University and College Union (UCU), said: “We are just at the start of the consultation. We are still discussing it and working through the business plan.
“It just shows how government cuts are impacting on children’s and adult education.”
Mr Campbell, who is an English and maths lecturer at the college, added: “I’ve spoken to quite a few of our members and they are obviously very disappointed and upset.
“This is going to kick in right at Christmas.”
The college has five main campuses at Bede, Shiney Row, Hylton, St Peter’s and Washington.
The Bede campus is currently undergoing work to create a multimillion-pound sports centre and visual and performing arts complex. Some £11million of the college’s development fund will be used to improve sports and art facilities at the Durham Road site.
South Tyneside paralympian Josef Craig was on hand to cut the first sod as part of the development.
Ms Isherwood added: “We remain absolutely committed to delivering the highest possible standard of education, in first-class facilities that inspire success.
“I am confident that we will emerge from this process stronger than ever and ready to face the challenges and opportunities that are on the horizon.”
The new site is set to open next September.