الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

London campus fails to sign students

A year after the University of South Wales launched a centre in London, no students are signed up for courses, BBC Radio Wales has learned.

The university had a £750,000 budget for the Docklands campus but spent £319,000, and four staff were employed.

It rented the space but did not go any further having “tested the market”.

Unions previously criticised USW for “wasting money” when it said it was no longer viable to retain both campuses in Newport, placing 90 jobs at risk.

The Caerleon campus is being closed and no new students are being recruited for courses there.

A USW spokesman said: “Withdrawing the London centre project earlier than originally planned was a prudent decision taken due to changes in market conditions.

“The financial investment in the London centre will be included in the university’s financial statements in due course.”

The spokesman added the business case had been predicated on recruiting international students, but changes to visa regulations had “introduced a level of complexity” which had affected the project’s viability.

He said they had had applicants but had made the decision not to enrol any.

Gareth Morgans, GMB regional organiser for Wales, said: “It’s absolutely a slap in the face. Our members feel betrayed by the university.

‘Devastating’

“I have up to 90 members at Caerleon University in Newport at risk of redundancy.

“To them this news is devastating; that such a frivolous waste of money has been undertaken by the university on a venture that as far as we can see was never going to materialise.

“They’ve recruited staff there. If this money had been put into Caerleon to repair the building where it needs repair and to recruiting students, I am sure Caerleon could be vibrant.”

The MP for Torfaen, Nick Thomas-Symonds, said: “Clearly if no students have enrolled on the course there must be very serious concerns about the value for money of the course.

“What I will be seeking is answers as to precisely why that has happened and indeed why that was given a priority at the same time there were issues with the Caerleon campus.”

But Ken Richards, a former member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, backed the university’s London move.

He told BBC Radio Wales’ Good Morning Wales programme: “I think they were right to try but perhaps they might have looked at the competition first to see what they were likely to come up against from more prestigious universities.”

  • Reporting by Charlotte Dubenskij

Ninety jobs are at risk at Caerleon University in Newport

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