Lecturers feel undervalued by their employers

Teaching staff are “deeply dissatisfied” with the way their college treats them, new research has revealed.

A report by the University and College Union (UCU), FE colleges, the frontline under pressure? found that half of the 3,000 further education (FE) staff surveyed did not feel valued by their employers.

More than half said their workspace and equipment was inadequate and just 22% believed they were rewarded adequately. A third (31%) of teaching staff felt secure – compared to the UK average for all jobs of 57%.

Nearly half (47%) felt their college tolerated bullying, which UCU believed was a sign of widespread stress among the FE profession.

The report comes three days before lecturers in some 250 colleges in England strike in support of their pay claim for 6% or £1,500 – whichever is greater.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “You really have to ask whether talented young people will want to enter, let alone stay, in a profession where dedication and achievement fail to command respect and adequate reward. Learners are very satisfied with their college lecturers. Lecturers deserve the satisfaction that comes from fair treatment, respect and just rewards.”

Hunt warned the government that dissatisfaction among workers will mean that staff will want to leave, causing FE colleges and universities to struggle with an ever-increasing staffing gap.

Large numbers of teaching staff are set to retire soon, but skills agency Lifelong Learning UK has estimated that FE will need 200,000 new teaching recruits by 2014.

The findings echoed another report, from the New Local Government Network, which found a third of council workers will retire in the next decade – yet the sector is failing to attract enough new recruits to compensate.

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