Welsh colleges have protested that funding cuts next year will hamper their efforts to combat the recession.
Fforwm, the colleges' organisation, said members may have to make redundancies rather than try to retrain more people as budgets are cut by just over 1 per cent.
John Graystone, the chief executive of Fforwm, said: "Just at the moment when colleges need to be the most flexible and responsive to help their local businesses, many colleges will themselves having to consider adding to the numbers of redundancies across Wales. It is a galling irony.
"It is certainly not how we expected the Welsh Assembly government to deal with maintaining a globally competitive workforce through a recession."
John Griffiths, the deputy minister for skills in the Assembly government, said Wales was investing in skills, with an extra Pounds 68 million for apprenticeships and a scheme for retraining workers in recession-hit industries.
He said: "These are difficult times of tight budget settlements. But the further education sector in Wales still receives nearly Pounds 300 million a year from the Welsh Assembly government and we have strategies in place to make better use of existing resources."