Firm owing £266,000 blames roof repairs and resignations for collapse
A Norwich training firm which went into liquidation owing suppliers hundred of thousands of pounds has blamed resignations and roof repairs for its closure.
Construction Training Specialists shut in May, making 16 members of staff redundant and leaving apprentices in the dark over how their studies will continue.
Its owner, Peterborough Regional College, has now revealed more details about the closure of the Hellesdon Park Road business, following a Freedom of Information request from this newspaper.
MORE: Public-funded firm goes bust leaving staff redundant and apprentices in the dark
Four months ahead of its closure, directors at CTS had said it was "confident of returning to a profit", but folded owing creditors in excess of £266,000.
A spokesman for the college said that this had not been achievable because of resignations of "key members of staff".
"As is the case for many FE institutions across the country, the company had difficulty in recruiting suitably qualified and experienced staff to replace them. This impacted on the company's ability to achieve the projected growth in income," they said.
The spokesman added that profits had been further impacted because "the expenditure required to maintain the company's premises was higher than anticipated due to the condition of the roof.
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"The combination of these factors meant that it was no longer economically viable for the company to continue trading."
Both the college and the businesses' administrators, RSM, say that efforts have been made to direct former students to new education providers through the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
The spokesman added that coursework of former students was also the responsibility of the ESFA.
However former student Daniel Kett said he had found it impossible to get to the bottom of where his coursework was and how he would continue with his Level 2 apprenticeship studies.
"CTS said they've sent letters out to all the students but I haven't had one - I learned about it through the EDP website," he said.
Mr Kett had paid £4,600 to CTS and has received £1,800 back from his credit card provider.
"I've tried calling CTS, I've tried calling the college but no one got back to me," he said. "I think there's a chance one of my tutors has my coursework - I was told he'd managed to grab some stuff before it shut down - but nothing other than that."
Mr Kett also said that his lessons had been impacted because of sub-standard equipment at the college which was shared between pupils.
The college spokesman confirmed: "CTS experienced cash flow difficulties and was forced to curtail capital investment. Unfortunately, this did mean that students on some courses had to share equipment, but we don't believe that this impacted those students' learning."