THERE is "discontent and concern" among Forth Valley College staff regarding the creation of vocational instructor assessor roles, according to an MSP.

Last week, the college said redundancies had been avoided thanks to a take up of the voluntary severance scheme while some lecturers will be moved into new roles with salary conservation.

However, a letter from MSP Angus MacDonald to college principal Dr Ken Thomson revealed "deep concerns at the process" from lecturers and students alike.

The letter read: "I have been advised, contrary to the message which has been portrayed in the press and through your latest response that there will be no redundancies.

"Having looked further into this claim, it is my belief that what is being said could be considered misleading.

"Lecturers are being offered the choice to apply for voluntary severance or apply for a new position being created of instructor/assessor.

"Therefore the current position of lecturer for certain vocational subjects is being made redundant.

"I would ask for further explanation of this point as, unless I'm mistaken, this means all lecturers are being made redundant with the new position of instructor/assessor as replacement.

"Similarly, the new role is almost identical to that of the previous role of lecturer.

"Apart from the wage conservation there is a change to the terms and conditions of this role compared to a lecturer, including a reduction in preparation time due to an increase in face-to-face class time and a reduction in holidays and lower pay scale in comparison following the end of the wage conservation period."

Another concern raised was that there is no requirement for an instructor assessor to be formally qualified, which "could lead to lower standards in teaching and no requirement to comply with professional standards", added the MSP's letter.

The Falkirk East representative ultimately called for the process to be put on hold until the coronavirus emergency is over.

Clacks MSP Keith Brown also confirmed he has been contacted by several constituents who raised concerns.

He added: "Forth Valley College is one of Scotland’s leading colleges, providing excellent educational opportunities for those who study there and it is crucial that this remains the case.

"The college must ensure that the quality of the student learning experience and the welfare of the lecturers remains a priority throughout this transition.

"I hope that the teaching body and management can come together to find appropriate solutions that address the concerns raised.”

In a statement, the college said it has a strong focus on vocational learning and the instructor assessor post "will enhance this".

A spokeswoman for the college added: "As part of our robust recruitment processes, the qualifications, experience and skills required for the new role have been carefully considered.

"Training will be offered to those who do not have the relevant assessor/verifier qualifications in line with our current procedures and we will do all we can to support them in their new role.

"The expertise and professional standards of our lecturing staff is not in question; however, it is the combined professionalism and dedication of colleagues in a variety of roles, who will continue to drive forward the success of the college and ensure we are delivering the education and training which will deliver the skills needed by our learners and their future employers."