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pound;26,000 to manage 32 staff

Many lecturers take a first step into management because they feel they have little option but to accept. "It was a job which came up and had to be done and I was asked if I would do it," says a curriculum manager at a large college in the North West.

The lecturer, who asked not to be identified, is effectively a first-line manager, although such titles are not used in his college. He earns about pound;26,000 per year, having moved on to the management spine when the college scrapped senior lecturer posts.

His department includes 21 full-time staff and 11 full-time equivalent part-timers. Together they teach about 450 students. In spite of 12 years as a manager, he has received no training in how to supervise people or handle his department's budget. Yet he is responsible for pound;50,000 to cover part-time teachers and pound;20,000 for resorces.

When the department was expanded last term, the manager did not receive any extra money for the extra workload. "I hope to use it as a bargaining counter in the future. It always works that way around in FE," he says. "We have to do the work before we get any recognition."

Interestingly, the lecturer does not blame senior managers because his pay does notnecessarily reflect his role. "Senior management in this college is underpaid compared with the sector as a whole."

Having moved into FE from industry, he hopes that the skills he has developed will be transferable should he ever choose to leave the sector.

"Skills like working with people in an organisation are transferable," he says. "Myknowledge base is firmly rooted in education. It's difficult to know whether anybody from outside would take it."

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