A high-profile independent training provider, Skills Training UK, is close to collapse, FE Week understands.
The national provider, which has centres across the West Midlands, London and the South East, could file for insolvency and go into liquidation next week with the loss of over 200 jobs.
Staff were told this afternoon that they are not required to come back to work as bosses hold crunch talks with liquidators. A final decision on the future of the business is expected early next week.
Earlier this month, Skills Training UK was one of several big name training providers that missed out on a national adult education budget (AEB) contract in the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s most recent procurement. The provider does though hold devolved contracts in London and South Yorkshire.
The company also had traineeships as part of its portfolio, a government programme that was scrapped by ministers earlier this year. Its 16-19 allocation for 2022/23 was worth £4.2 million.
On apprenticeships, Skills Training UK started 820 apprentices in 21/22 and 550 in the first three quarters of 22/23. Apprenticeship numbers have gradually reduced from a high of 1310 in 2018/19 according to DfE data.
Ofsted last inspected the provider in 2017 and gave it a ‘good’ overall judgement.
Skills Training UK recorded a loss of £3.5 million in its 2022/23 accounts, in comparison to a profit of £1.2 million the year prior. Turnover also slipped to £10.3 million from £18.0 million, which it blamed on the coronavirus pandemic, the economic troubles and their high fixed costs.
The provider’s cash pot also vanished last year, from £2.2 million the year prior. Skills Training went into its overdraft by more than £6,000.
Skills Training UK also elected not to pay out a dividend “given the poor performance of the company”. It paid out a £3.9 million dividend the year before.