North West Regional College (NWRC) must move out of the current crisis as soon as possible, the local Chamber of Commerce has said.
The Chamber has called on the leadership at the institution to deal with the issues revealed in a damning report which details allegations that staff have been working in a ‘culture of fear’.
Chamber President Philip Gilliland said: “The Chamber urges the leadership of the college to ensure that the problems outlined in the report published by the Department for Employment and Learning are resolved speedily to enable the College to fulfil its role, which is absolutely essential for the local economy.
“While the matters revealed in the report must be addressed properly and effectively, we believe that the core functions of the college must not be forgotten. The college needs to provide the teaching and environment for students to raise their skills for their chosen occupations and for their personal fulfilment. We are anxious that the current difficulties do not detract from that.”
“The Chamber is backing the college’s improvement plan, with particular encouragement for increasing information technology and STEM subjects provision. It is essential that the college plays its full role in raising the skills base in the local labour market, including in the core ICT and other STEM - science, technology, engineering and maths - subjects,” Mr Gilliland said. He added: “We are also very keen that the College makes progress in establishing a close working relationship with the University of Ulster’s Magee campus to provide a more integrated third level education provision.
“The Chamber is aware of the college’s improvement plan and is very supportive of this. We believe that this is the basis on which the necessary progress must be achieved. We hope that a resolution to the current difficulties can be achieved quickly and that this leads to the development of more potential employees in the city with those skills most needed in the modern economy.”
Relations between staff and management at the college could take up to five years to heal, the independent report has found.
The report was conducted on behalf of the Department of Employment and Learning by equality and human resources consultant Harry McConnell.