WIRRAL Met College's new board has appointed a new principal, Joe West.

Mr West, chief executive at St Helen's College, will take charge at Wirral Metropolitan College for two months as the new board sorts out a £10m cash crisis at Wirral Met. Wirral South MP Ben Chapman, who campaigned to stop the old board closing Carlett Park College, is one of the first to welcome Mr West to Wirral.

"He is well qualified to take up the reigns at the college. He has a proven record in management. St Helen's College achieved Grade 1 in the last FEFC inspection. Mr West with the new board will, I am sure, be looking closely at the situation they inherited at Carlett Park."

The Further Education Funding Council invited the previous board to resign. Principal Jenny Shackleton then took early retirement and has now left the college. Besides sorting out problems at the college, the new board will have to authorise her leaving package.

FEFC North West representative John Conlan chairs the new board, which includes local business people and faces the tough task of sorting out problems at the college. It has promised to be as open and accountable to the public, staff and students as possible.

Last audited accounts for 1996/7 show a £10.731m deficit. There are 150 creditors, with Barclays Bank and the Funding Council owed most in this 'serious cash crisis'.

Since 1994 Wirral Met has lost 50 per cent of its students. There is no neighbourhood college replacement for closed Withens Lane College, now a housing estate. Staff are struggling to find the most basic equipment, such as pens and chalk.

Converted for the new archive on 13 March 2001. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.