UPDATE: Deep job cuts announced at Holland College

Ten term or casual positions in adult educational cut, two casual employees’ contracts not renewed, five employees will see their hours reduced, vacant positions will not being filled

Ryan Ross rross@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on April 2, 2014

Holland College has announced job cuts. The deepest cuts come in adult education.

©Photo special to The Guardian

Holland College is cutting teaching positions across the province and changing its adult education program because fewer students eligible for assistance through employment insurance were enrolling.

Michael O'Grady, the college's vice-president, said most of the funding for the adult education program comes from the Labour Market Development Agreement and is based on the number of EI eligible students taking part in adult education courses.

But over the last few years there have been fewer students who were eligible for EI, O'Grady said.

"The delivery model as it has existed was no longer sustainable."

As part of the changes to the adult education programs, Holland College is cutting 5½ full-time equivalent term positions and 4½ full-time casual positions.

O'Grady said the college will still be able to serve the same number of students and in the same nine sites across the province as it has in the past.

The current model allows students to start and stop their courses throughout the year, but O'Grady said that's going to change.

"The new model will have defined entry and exit points and there will be a much greater focus on student assessment and on managing student progress," he said.

"So some loss of flexibility, but I'm pleased to say we still feel we'll be able to accommodate the same number of students and deliver the courses in the same number of sites."

Along with the changes to the adult education program, Holland College is also suspending its applied degree in culinary operations, although it will continue for students who are currently enrolled in the program.

In other parts of the college there will be three vacant positions that won't be filled, two casual positions that won't be renewed for the new school year and up to five other employees who will have their hours reduced.

O'Grady said it's all part of the college's regular review of its courses.

"We look at enrolment across the college and these adjustments are related to enrolment levels."

He also said the decisions are difficult when they affect staff.

"We do have a very dedicated group of employees here and these are the most difficult decisions that one has to make," he said.

Innovation and Advanced Learning Minister Al Roach said the college agreed to look at the adult education program again after one year and he's happy the school is focused on the students.

"I think that they've analyzed it very well," he said.

Roach said he isn't worried there will be any impact on the quality of the education students receive.

"I don't think we'll see a reduction in the quality at all."