Two in five support staff 'fear their job may be cut'

Training is valuable to FE support staff for self-esteem and for feeling more secure in their jobs, Unison poll shows

Julia Belgutay

One third of FE and HE support staff fear redundancy in the next three years, a Unison survey shows

More than two in five further and higher education employees fear their jobs may be cut, a new survey by support staff union Unison reveals.

The skills survey of more than 38,000 public sector workers, published today, shows that a third (34 per cent) believe it likely their jobs might be redundant in the next 36 months.

More than two-fifths of further and higher education employees (44 per cent) were worried about job security.

Meanwhile, more than four-fifths (81 per cent) reported that “learning is important to my self-esteem”.

One in 10 workers surveyed felt that additional training had protected them from the threat of redundancy, with staff feeling more secure in their jobs because of the new skills they’ve acquired.

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College staff fear redundancy

More than half of those who responded to the survey highlighted automation as the main risk to their jobs, while employers’ reluctance to provide staff training was frequently mentioned.

Unison’s head of learning, Teresa Donegan, said: “The most precious asset that any employer possesses is its staff, and that’s an asset that should be invested in. We often hear what industries and employers want from the workforce. What makes this research unique is the fact that this is the voice of the workers. Staff have told us what they need. Now it’s up to the government and to employers to listen.”

She added: “Nine years of austerity has created a culture within the public services where employers are reluctant to invest in the future. It’s clear staff know what they need from training and are willing to put in the hard work to improve their chances of avoiding redundancy and securing promotion. But chronic under-investment and a short-term ‘let’s just get by’ attitude from bosses is storing up problems for the future.

“To avoid a widening public sector skills gap, government and employers need to invest in training staff at every level. It’s crucial staff can get access to lifelong learning opportunities to make sure they’ve the skills to meet the challenges of the changing workplace."

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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