Training quango to shed 125 staff jobs

A SCOTTISH Government quango set up to improve skills and training has confirmed it plans to axe about 125 posts.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is looking for staff members to come forward for voluntary redundancy.

But bosses at the organisation, which employs about 1,400 people, have stressed there will be no compulsory redundancies.

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SDS confirmed it had opened a selective voluntary severance scheme for its staff.

Labour is now demanding that new skills minister Angela Constance make a statement to Holyrood on the job losses.

The redundancies are taking place as the organisation faces a 21 million cut in its budget for 2011-12, with the amount of cash it has falling from 209.5m this year.

John McClelland, chair of SDS, said: "Since its creation SDS has made a sustained and positive impact on skills provision in Scotland.

"We continue to plan for an ambitious future. We are working with our staff to become a more focused organisation appropriately equipped to deliver real benefits to individuals and employers."

SDS delivers modern apprenticeships as well as training for work schemes, and is also involved in helping those who have been made redundant find new employment.

Labour skills spokesman David Whitton claimed the redundancies were "the direct result of SNP budget cuts of over 20 million".

He said: "I am calling for the new skills minister Angela Constance to come before parliament and make a statement to MSPs."