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More jobs for the boys

15 September 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

Education Minister Maria Eagle has announced the names of those appointed to serve as chairmen for Northern Ireland's new further education colleges arising from the restructuring of the sector. All six appointees are men.

These appointments follow upon an earlier directive by the Northern Ireland Government's Department of Employment and Learning that the posts of Directors/Chief Executive would be filled by internal trawl. UCU has been critical of this approach stating that it would not promote equality of opportunity and would lead to all male appointments.

Commenting on the Minister's appointments, UCU regional official Jim McKeown said: 'For a government department charged with responsibility for oversight of equality, DEL makes some curious decisions. They are forcing through mergers on colleges which have a significant majority of females amongst their workforces and student populations, yet there is no place anywhere in the leadership for a female appointee.

'That is a bleak message to send to the many thousands of women who use the colleges and who have contributed enormously to their success.

'DEL has abandoned any pretence that these major public sector institutions should seek to engage with, and be representative of the wider community. Their aim is to turn FE colleges into glorified training centres for the purpose of meeting the interests of private sector employers.'