UCS job cuts shock

BOSSES at University Campus Suffolk are set to axe more than 30 jobs as part of radical cost-cutting measures, it can be revealed today.

Josh Warwick

BOSSES at University Campus Suffolk are set to axe more than 30 jobs as part of radical cost-cutting measures, it can be revealed today.

Several degree courses which have failed to attract the required numbers of students will also be scrapped in the shake-up.

UCS said 34 of its 370 employees - nearly ten per cent - could be made redundant under the proposed organisational changes, which are currently being discussed with trade unions. However some could be moved to different departments.

It is understood that the posts under threat are at all levels - including senior managers.

Any course cuts or job losses will come into effect in the new academic year, beginning in late summer.

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Staff are said to be angry at the restructure, which comes only 18 months after UCS was launched.

One employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Evening Star: “People are furious and hurt.

“Courses are being axed due to poor intake last summer and low student demand.

“They are going to withdraw seven courses and cut the staff in half on other courses because they have either been mismanaged or are expensive or not financially viable in the current climate.

“Courses that were hugely successful when at Suffolk New College are being retitled, redirected or got rid of.”

A statement from UCS said it had decided it was time to review its courses 18 months after the new institution was launched.

It said: “Within the organisation there are some academic areas that are either not growing, or are contracting, and as a result UCS needs to reshape its academic offering to fit the needs of future students and employers.

“UCS needs to begin to invest in new academic disciplines and this needs to be focused in areas which can grow rapidly, and where there are high levels of student demand.

“We also want to streamline our internal structures to ensure that the organisation works as efficiently and effectively as we can.

Ipswich MP Chris Mole said he has been “reassured” that the plans will not undermine UCS' medium-term objectives.

“It's an appropriate stock-take given that they are a new institution that inherited a number of their academic activities from Suffolk College,” he said.

Ipswich council leader Liz Harsant added: “It's regrettable but we are living through a hard time.

“I thought it might be difficult to attract students during recession. Graduates are going to find it increasingly hard to find jobs.

“But I am still convinced the university is the best thing to happen to Ipswich.”

UCS accepted its first intake of students in August 2007, while the institution's landmark Waterfront building opened a year later.

Phase Two of the UCS masterplan will offer student accommodation and further academic space.