Plans could affect outreach centres

Forfar and Kirriemuir outreach centres of Angus College may be seriously affected by government cuts, according to staff members’ union UNISON

Dougie Deans, the UNISON representative with responsibility for further education in Angus, has organised a petition in support of the college in Arbroath, and its outreach centres.

“The petition has been organised against the current Scottish Government’s proposed funding cuts of 74 per cent over the next three years, on top of a 10.3 per cent cut this year which has resulted in over 1,000 personnel losing their posts, a seven per cent cut in the further education sector,” he explains.

“These proposed cuts will result in courses being cut and compulsory redundancies through out the further education sector in Scotland.

“Along with the threat of mergers in the sector this will have a detrimental effect on the Sector and the Angus community.

“This proposed situation is critical to the Angus community in this recession, with a reduction in courses and fewer opportunities to retrain to learn new skills.

“Angus College serves not only Arbroath but the whole of the geographical area within Angus.”

Mr Deans went on to say that this stretches to a further four outreach centres including Montrose, Forfar, Brechin and Kirriemuir, and also extending to South Aberdeenshire and other nearby areas.

He continued: “These proposed cuts and mergers will change the employment landscape in Angus beyond recognition. And this may result in centres being closed, training opportunities lost, and one of the largest respected employers in Angus being forced, through no fault of their own, into making detrimental decisions which will have an impact on the Angus community.

“Now is not the time to ‘sell the Angus family silver’.

“We need to protect and invest in our assets.”

The petition will be available at various locations in Arbroath town centre on Saturday (November 26), between 11 am and 2 pm. Mr Deans urges concerned parties to sign it.