New Lifetime Training leadership plans more redundancies

Around 5% of the provider's 1,000-strong workforce set to be cut

Around 5% of the provider's 1,000-strong workforce set to be cut

About 50 further jobs are set to be lost at England’s largest apprenticeship provider as a new leadership team takes shape.

Lifetime Training this week launched a redundancy consultation – its second this year – to reduce its 1,000-strong workforce by about 5 per cent.

FE Week understands that nine departments across the business are affected, including curriculum, learner support and work-based learning partnerships.

The cuts come weeks after David Smith replaced Jon Graham as chief executive of the provider.

Smith also recently announced the appointment of a new chief financial officer, people director, operations delivery director, and partnerships director.

A spokesperson for Lifetime said the leadership team completed a “strategic planning exercise” over the summer, focusing on “growth and long-term sustainability”, which led to the decision to reduce the workforce. FE Week understands 120 staff are part of the redundancy consultation, but 50 jobs are expected to be cut.

Smith said: “Our focus is on long-term sustainability and enabling the business to take advantage of future growth opportunities. We have been carrying out a cross-functional review to avoid duplication and improve accountability and ownership. The review also strengthens our partnership, compliance, quality and operational models of delivery, which are reflected in the updated governance structure, bringing further emphasis to high-quality teaching strategies.”

Smith comes from outside the FE sector having led big-name companies such as Parcelforce, Royal Mail, City Link, Serco and, most recently, estates management company Bellrock Group.

He replaced Graham in July, who was moved on after just over a year in charge.

The CEO switch came a week after Lifetime Training’s executive chair Geoff Russell, who used to lead the Skills Funding Agency, suddenly left his post.

Both Graham and Russell were brought in from another large training provider, JTL, last year. Their departures came months after Lifetime Training was taken over by its lender, Alcentra.

The provider has experienced a rocky year including a critical ‘requires improvement’ Ofsted report and an ongoing government audit dispute that could result in a £13m clawback. It made about 60 staff redundant earlier this year.

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