The Co-operative College is celebrating its strongest financial results since 2004. Following a review of its cost base and VAT arrangements last year, the College finished 2012 with an operating surplus of £6,566.
The College’s Co-operative Learning and Development services saw particularly strong growth. In 2012, workshop attendance increased by 18 per cent and Funeral Vocational Qualification registrations went up by 29 per cent. Distance learning enrolments rose by 90 per cent.
Last year the College introduced an equitable pay scheme, with a flat rate payment and a lower percentage award, aimed at benefiting lower-paid staff most. By the end of 2014 it aims to achieve a lowest:highest salary ratio of 1:5. It moved from 1:6 in 2011 to 1:5.75 in 2012.
The College pays all its employees a living wage and its apprentices receive an average of £5.08 an hour, almost double the official apprenticeship rate of £2.65. The average staff satisfaction rate is 88 per cent.
It also worked on a growing number of programmes in Eastern and Southern Africa in 2012, and its research portfolio and academic partnerships grew rapidly. Ten scholarships were awarded throughout the year, including nine grants supporting learners to attend the international Mainstreaming Co-operation conference, held by the College in Manchester and Rochdale last July.
Another award enabled a student to undertake fieldwork in Kenya as part of a doctorate on co-operative and poverty alleviation, which was co-supervised by the College.
Co-operative Heritage Trust, a charity set up and managed by the College, reopened the Rochdale Pioneers Museum in time to welcome thousands of visitors from the 2012 Co-operatives United event. The National Co-operative Archive, also managed by the College through the Trust, benefited from 116 days of volunteer time over the course of the year.
The College also continued to support development of the co-operative schools sector, which now represents the third largest group of schools in England.
Chair of Governors Paul Sommerfeld said: “2012 was a unique year for the Co-operative College and the whole of the co-operative movement. The International Year of Co-operatives gave us an opportunity to profile co-operation and its contemporary relevance, and the College’s improved financial position strengthens the position of the College going forward and puts the College in a strong position to build on the contacts and developments made through the International Year of Co-operatives.
"We've continued to develop new programmes for the framework of progression and a new European partnership under the Leonardo programme will assist in making that approach more widely available. Our international work has strengthened, building on established programmes in Eastern and Southern Africa with initiatives in Ethiopia and Malawi.
"The programme in partnership with the Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society in Lesotho is an example of how smaller co-operative enterprises can directly support co-operative development in some of the poorest parts of the world in collaboration with the College."
He thanked staff and associates for “helping the College fulfil its vision to be a world leader in education for co-operation".
In this article
- British co-operative movement
- Business models
- Co-operative College
- Co-operative Congress 2013
- Co-operatives UK
- Consumer cooperative
- distance learning
- Eastern Africa
- Greater Manchester
- Ontario Co-operative Association
- Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers
- Social Issues
- Southern Africa
- The Co-operative brand
- The Co-operative Group
- The College
- United Kingdom