Charles Darwin University to cut 77 jobs, cancel 19 courses in merger of vocational, higher education

Charles Darwin University has revealed plans to cut 77 jobs – 5 per cent of its workforce – in a merger of vocational and higher education (VET) that could save the institution $10 million.

Staff at CDU were told about the proposed change on Tuesday afternoon, including a plan to cut 19 VET courses.

The scrapped courses include certificates in community night patrol, hospitality, hairdressing and business administration.

The university’s deputy vice-chancellor Meredith Parry said two independent reports had found the VET structure was “financially unsustainable”.

“This will be a difficult time for many at CDU,” Ms Parry said in a statement.

“I am acutely aware that losing a position in a national market that could see up to 21,000 university sector jobs go by the end of the year is confronting, and comprehensive staff support measures have been put in place for staff and their families.”

Ms Parry said some of the VET courses being cut have no current enrolments, but ongoing students would have an option to abandon or continue their studies.

A drop in funding and VET enrolments along with challenges in delivering VET courses remotely were also to blame, Ms Parry said.

In July last year, CDU’s vice-chancellor Simon Maddocks said a university restructure would result in close to 100 job losses.

Professor Maddocks said the university was facing an unprecedented financial challenge and flagged potential changes to higher education and vocational education course offerings.

The university had already shifted its focus to growing international student numbers.

On Monday, the Northern Territory government confirmed an agreement with the federal government and CDU was in place to bring 70 international students to Darwin in late October.

Ms Parry said the proposal for the merger of VET would go through a staff consultation process until October 18.


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