After six weeks of consultation and feedback with staff, industry and the NT Government, Charles Darwin University today released its Change Plans to unify Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education across the university campuses and balance the budget through $9m in savings.
This change will result in CDU reducing its staff by 77 full time positions or 5% of all staff. The positions no longer required include vacant positions, job sharing and part time arrangements.
Thirty six staff members, impacted by the change proposals, have volunteered to take redundancy. An additional 39 staff have been informed their positions are no longer required at CDU in 2021. CDU will continue to support these staff and where appropriate offer a redeployment process.
Following the extensive consultation, the number of courses to be cut remains at 19, some with no current enrolments. All current students will have an option to finish or continue their studies.
“Since releasing proposed changes on September 29, the team has diligently assessed more than 400 pieces of feedback from staff to create the most effective and workable solutions.
“There are many staff who took a great deal of time to provide their input, we value this feedback and in response have made a number of changes in every affected college or office.
“It is a difficult time but we have a Council directive to find savings through financial efficiencies across the university for sustainability, and to position CDU for growth and provide better pathways for more VET students,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor Meredith Parry.
Ms Parry added that the university will continue to be proactive in its consultations with employers and industry to ensure apprenticeships and skills training meets the needs of the Territory.
“Through better collaboration across the Territory, CDU will focus on our core business of providing the best training for a Territory workforce, ready to take advantage of economic opportunities,” she said.
The restructure comes at a time when the Australian university sector could see up to 21,000 jobs go by the end of the year*.
CDU is one of only six dual-sector universities in Australia, with 8,700 or 45% of its students enrolled in VET. However, since 2012, funding and enrolment for VET across Australia has been falling and delivering VET in remote locations in the NT also presents unique challenges.
External reports by Ernst & Young, and Drs Shanahan and Zoellner outline the specific challenges faced by CDU and found the current VET structure to be financially unsustainable.