Quarter of college staff seek voluntary redundancy in Northern Ireland
More than 1,100 workers in the further education sector have applied for voluntary redundancy - but it is not known how many will be let go.
There are currently 4,100 full-time staff working across our six regional colleges as well as a higher number of part-time staff.
The further education sector has been hit by massive cuts after the Department of Employment and Learning's budget was slashed by £82m (10.8%).
Further education faces budget cuts of £12m. It is feared that as many as 16,000 student places may be lost in the sector.
Colleges NI revealed yesterday there had been strong interest in the Further Education Voluntary Exit Scheme (VES), with more than 1,100 expressions of interest received.
Gerry Campbell of Colleges NI said the voluntary exit scheme was needed to deliver the required pay reduction across the sector.
But he warned that funding has not yet been confirmed for the scheme, so it is not known how many staff can be released this financial year.
"Throughout this process, the sector has consulted and engaged with all recognised trade unions in relation to the Voluntary Exit Scheme and will continue to do so," he said. "A number of staff will be given a conditional offer today to exit under the VES. These staff will have 10 days to consider their offer and it is anticipated that those staff who choose to accept this offer of voluntary exit will leave by August 31, 2015.
"Furthermore, all other staff who submitted an expression of interest will be advised that their application is still under consideration and it is anticipated that a further update will be provided around the end of May 2015."