STAFF at Thames Valley University's further education college in Reading are facing an uncertain future today after a major programme of job cuts was announced.

The blame is being placed firmly on the Government's national funding cutbacks but TVU managers met trades union representatives yesterday and will be talking to the staff in the target departments next week as they seek to make substantial savings on budgets totalling £1.3m.

TVU head of communications Nicola Miller said: "A thorough review of costs, courses and portfolios has been carried out and TVU now needs to make a real and immediate reduction in staff costs as a direct result of the funding cuts, in addition to the careful and continuing management of non-staff costs."

It is not yet known how many redundancies there will be, but they will take effect by July 31 and will not be affected by the planned transfer of the Reading further education college to the control of Oxford & Cherwell Valley College (OCVC) and the Learning Skills Network (LSN) from August 1.

Consultations will continue until that date but from next week voluntary redundancy will be offered to staff in the targeted departments - business, leisure, health, commercial services, creative arts, the 14-19 academy, technology and library and information systems.

Ian Tunbridge, deputy vice-chancellor and acting principal, said: "It would have been necessary to make these reductions to staff costs irrespective of our plans to transfer ownership of the college to this new entity.

"It is regrettable that we have been forced to look at a redundancy programme at this time due to funding cuts across the further education sector. There is never a good time to make this type of announcement; however, it is crucial that savings are made as quickly as possible to ensure the future sustainability of the college."

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