South Staffordshire College's closure of Cannock campus could lead to 'significant' job losses

The closure of South Staffordshire College's Cannock campus could lead to a 'significant number of job losses', union bosses have warned.

The exact number of job losses is unknown at this stage as, according to UNISON, the college has yet to reveal if it will be looking to move staff to its other sites.

The union described the news of the closure as a 'terrible shock' which will 'sadden many local residents'.

As reported by the Express & Star on Wednesday, the college is to close its Cannock campus in an attempt to save money. The college has battled financial pressures for a number of years and has been forced into the shock closure after a proposed merger deal with Walsall College fell through.

Its campus at The Green and its Progress Centre on Walsall Road will both close in July with the courses offered, including hairdressing and music, being moved to the college's other campuses in Lichfield, Penkridge and Tamworth.

The 400-or-so students currently studying at the campus will be offered free bus travel to the other campuses but the college has remained tight-lipped on what could happen to staff.

UNISON Staffordshire area organiser Steve Elsey said: "The decision to close the campus has come as a terrible shock to the staff, following investment of £6 million pounds and a grand refurbishment scheme just a few years ago.

“Unions are due to meet with management shortly for the full details, but the site is expected to close at the end of the summer with a potentially significant number of job losses. We will now work with college staff and management to protect jobs and provision.

"The news that over a hundred years of further education at the Green will be coming to an end, leaving Cannock without any FE provision, will reduce the opportunities available to the young people of Cannock and the surrounding areas and sadden many local residents."

Anne O’Sullivan, a regional official for the University and College Union which represents teaching staff, added: “This is sad for the staff and students at Cannock College. Our priority now must be the preservation of as much of the Cannock College course provision as possible and the protection of the jobs of the hard-working Cannock staff. We will approach the talks with management with that agenda.”

The college confirmed the Cannock closure was financially motivated. Graham Morley, the chief executive of the college, said: “South Staffordshire College needs to reduce its operating costs to ensure its continuing sustainability and long-term future as the provider of further education to the community it serves.

“The Board made the tough decision to relocate services and provision from Cannock Campus in response to the financial pressures in further education and the need to consolidate into more specialist and sustainable campuses.”

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