A COLLEGE announced 50 job losses — four days after winning planning permission to build a £12 million university campus.
Staff at RNN Group, which runs Rotherham College, were informed of the restructure move on Monday (15) morning.
The college was granted permission last Thursday to build a higher education centre at Doncaster Gate for 1,000 uni students.
It said the job losses were not linked to the new venture but due to a reduced population of 16- to 18-year-olds.
But a source said: “It still came as quite a bombshell. All the staff received an email at 7am on Monday (15) to say that they were cutting staff and about 50 would be going.
“It was unexpected and it’s been made worse because it was so soon after the expansion plans were passed. There are quite a few unions involved because it involves both teaching and support staff.”
RNN was created by a merger of Rotherham College and North Notts College last year and the company took over Dearne Valley College in February.
The restructure — described as “very regrettable” by RNN chief executive John Connolly — will see about 50 jobs cut from a total staff of 1,500.
Mr Connolly added: “It is necessary because the number of 16-18 students in our local population each year has fallen by 1,300 since 2011.
“As we are funded on a per student basis, our funding has therefore fallen. The 16-18 population does not start to grow again until 2020.
“Some compulsory redundancies will be necessary, but until people come forward, as there will be opportunities for voluntary redundancies, we cannot confirm the number.
“We appreciate this is a very difficult time for those involved and will be supporting those affected by this change to find new work.”
The job losses are expected to be spread between all four RNN campuses — Rotherham, Dearne Valley, Dinnington and Worksop.
Mr Connolly said: “The restructure will help us build a solid future and continue to develop and deliver technical and professional education courses which meet the needs of students, employers and our communities.”
Deputy principal Phil Sayles said the new uni campus — set to open in 2018 and create 24 jobs — would meet a pressing need in Rotherham for more higher education provision.
He added: “The redundancies are not connected to this building or operation of the centre in any way.
“They are a sad but necessary response to lower numbers of teenagers in the population, which is affecting our further education funding.”
Sheffield City Region has provided £4 million towards the uni campus. Two-and-a-half jobs were made redundant by RNN in late 2016.