UHI Perth begin Trade Union Consultation towards financially stable future

To aim towards a financially stable future, UHI Perth have officially begun a formal consultation process with Trade Unions.

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UHI Perth campus

Dr. Margaret Cook, Principal and Chief Executive explained: “Along with the rest of the college sector, the current landscape presents formidable challenges. Alongside reductions in funding and the cost-of-living crisis, we have rising staff and utility costs, leaving us with significant economic concerns and the requirement to create a financially stable future.

“Our aim with the UHI Perth Financial Sustainability Project and consultation process is to ensure the long-term sustainability of UHI Perth. We need to continue to deliver quality teaching and support to our students who benefit from the opportunity to gain skills, experience, qualifications and enjoy an excellent experience while studying with us. 

“In order to prevent compulsory redundancies, we remain committed to achieving this by launching a Voluntary Severance scheme. While our primary focus during this consultation is on staff savings, we have also been working on five workstreams: Academic Reorganisation; Professional Services Reorganisation; Estates; Continuous Improvement and Additional Profitable Income Generation. We will analyse the resulting recommendations and progress the initiatives and measures which will align with our financial sustainability targets. 

“We recognise this is an incredibly stressful time for everyone and wholeheartedly appreciate colleague’s patience, input and dedication throughout the extremely difficult nature of this consultation period of work. We are continuing to welcome input and feedback from across the college, holding various opportunities for staff and students to engage with us.  We will also provide support for any staff affected by these proposals.

“Our recruitment for 2024/25 is strong and we continue to welcome applications for our range of courses, apprenticeships, and skills opportunities. Where courses or other services are likely to be impacted by any changes, we will communicate with those affected directly and will support each learner as best as we can. As this is an ongoing process, please be reassured that we will keep all staff, students and stakeholders informed of any developments. Anyone who would like to comment or ask questions can email: engage.perth@uhi.ac.uk

In addition, Margaret explained to parents and carers of nursery children: "Since the Autumn and more, we have been exploring various models that can financially sustain the future of our Nursery.   These have been exhausted and therefore part of the proposal that has been put to our Trade Unions is a proposal to close our Nursery at the end of June 2024.  This proposal does not come lightly to the College as we all know our Nursery is an excellent facility for our young people where we have received excellent reports from the Care Inspectorate as well as positive feedback from parents and carers over the years.

"We acknowledge this news will not be welcome news for you and your little ones, but we wished to ensure that you were kept-up-to-date of the situation and we will endeavour to keep you informed.  The timescales that we are proposing to work to will mean that collective consultation will conclude at the end of May and we will then be in a position to make clear our final decisions. Should the final decision be to close the Nursery we have been assured by Perth & Kinross Council that they will work with all parents/carers to facilitate, where possible, a move to another suitable nursery, and for our students who currently draw down childcare funding this funding will continue to be available to you. We will keep you up-to-date with developments as the consultation concludes."