Lead provider that had £3.3m of Skills Funding Agency cash ‘ceases trading’

An Essex-based lead provider that was allocated nearly £2m of Skills Funding Agency cash last academic year has ceased trading, FE Week understands.

Making Your Mark — which also traded under the name Lota Training — told the agency last week it was going out of business.

The firm, which was visited by former FE Minister John Hayes last year, had a £1.56m agency contract to deliver 16-18 apprenticeships, plus a £321k deal under the adult skills budget.

A member of the public, who wanted to remain anonymous, contacted FE Week and said the firm appeared to have shut.

Former FE Minister John Hayes during a visit to Lota Training

He said a number of apprentices were affected and many had not been aware of Making Your Mark’s closure plans.

Over the last three years it had received agency funding totalling £3,373, 631.

The firm’s phone mailbox was today full and taking no new messages. An FE Week email to the firm has not been responded to.

It is listed on the UK Register of Learning Providers to an address in Braintree Road, Witham, with Wendy Twydell as general manager.

However, she told FE Week she was made redundant and had been out of the post since January at the latest.

Making Your Mark had 266 learners and, according to Lota’s website, it specialised “in apprenticeships for young people, mainly 16 to 18-year-olds, as well as training solutions for older learners.”

It is unclear what firms Making Your Mark, whose most recent tweet came on August 21, was delivering training for.

An agency spokesperson said: “Making your Mark — which also trades under the name Lota Training — is a lead provider and advised the agency on October 19 that it was going to cease training.

“How private providers run their business is not something the agency can comment on.

“Agency funding for the company over the past three years was £3,373, 631.

“The agency has established strategies in place for these situations.

“The agency’s priority is to ensure that learners are contacted and are transferred to other local providers quickly and with minimum disruption to ensure that their learning continues, and to ensure that public funds remain protected.

“There are currently 266 learners registered with the company. Any concerned learners should contact Chelmsford College on 01245 265 611.

“The agency is not aware if administrators have been appointed. We cannot comment on which employers the company was delivering for.”

Chelmsford College principal David Law said: “We were contacted by the agency on Friday [October 19] and asked to look after the learners that were affected.

“Our concern was for the learners and employers and so we agreed to take them on.”

He added that Chelmsford College had not been contractually involved with Lota Training. Concerned learners and employers should email the college on information@chelmsford.ac.uk