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Birmingham Metropolitan College axes up to 250 jobs

Funding cuts blamed as further education college reveals major cutbacks across the region

Birmingham Metropolitan College

Up to 250 members of staff are set to be axed at Birmingham Metropolitan College – with bosses blaming falling government spending.

The college, which is one of the city's largest and was formed by the merger of Matthew Boulton and Sutton College, has informed staff their jobs are at risk with a need to reduce costs "significantly".

It is one of Birmingham's largest colleges, having merged with Stourbridge College in 2013, but has struggled in the current economic climate and the jobs are expected to be axed by the end of the year.

Andrew Cleaves, principal and chief executive at Birmingham Metropolitan College, said these were "challenging times" for the education sector.

He added: "Government funding has reduced by a third in recent years and greater competition in the sector, combined with demographic factors, has put pressure on student numbers.

"These conditions have highlighted the need to focus on efficiency, by reducing costs where we can and improving the way we do things.

"Like other FE colleges, we need to reduce our operating costs and ensure the college is on a firm financial footing from which to grow in the future.

"We have informed staff that we need to reduce costs significantly and, regrettably, around 200 to 250 positions across our colleges could be made redundant by the end of the academic year.

"We are hopeful that any redundancies will be achieved voluntarily. Current students will not be affected and we are also aiming to protect our course offering in the future."

Birmingham Metropolitan is one of the leading lights in the city's education scheme.

Its £40 million Eastside campus, which opened in 2005, represented one of the largest further education investments the region has seen.

It now has campuses, including the Matthew Boulton headquarters in the city centre, in Sutton Coldfield, Great Barr, Erdington, Kidderminster and Stourbridge.

Former National Express chief executive Mr Cleaves was appointed as the new principal, taking over from Dame Christine Braddock, last year.

He is joined on the board by some well-known Birmingham business faces. Its chairman is Steve Hollis, deputy chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, and he is joined by Gateley partner Andrew Madden and property developer Anthony McCourt.

The college is central to plans to improve skills in the region and boasts links with the likes of Samsung, Caterpillar, Jaguar Land Rover, IBM, Network Rail and others.

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