Apprentices left in limbo after collapse of 3aaa, says Yorkshire businesswoman

Sarah Jordan, a social media marketing executive of VIP Worldwide
Sarah Jordan, a social media marketing executive of VIP Worldwide
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YOUNG people who were encouraged to take up an apprenticeship with a former Government provider have been left “hanging in limbo” after the firm ceased trading, according to a Yorkshire businesswoman.

Aspire Achieve Advance (known as 3aaa) closed in the autumn, leaving a number of apprentices without a training provider. A petition to wind up the Derby-based company was presented to the High Court in October last year.

Kirsty Beasley, the director of marketing at VIP Worldwide, the luxury hotel film production and social media marketing agency, said one of her employees, Sarah Jordan, has been affected.

She said: “The Government wrote to her and said they would find an alternative provider back in November and it’s now February and no one has been in touch. It’s really bad to leave all these youngsters hanging on in limbo and those that had almost completed their apprenticeship have lost their qualifications or a chance of taking them.”

Ms Beasley, whose business is based in Hessle, East Yorkshire, approached Aspire Achieve Advance Limited to help the firm find a digital marketing apprentice.

She said: “Sarah started with us in July on a digital marketing apprenticeship. Sarah received a call from her tutor on October 12 2018 to say the company had gone into receivership the day before. There was no information of whether she would have a pause in learning.

“We received a letter and we have heard nothing since. Sarah’s letter arrived about 10 days later from the same department and she had to visit the post office to collect it as there was insufficient postage.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Following the termination of 3aaa’s contracts with the department, we prioritised finding new training providers as quickly as possible for the affected learners.

“Working with a specialist team, the majority of apprentices have been allocated to new providers and have restarted their apprenticeships. We are in discussion with a small number of providers to finalise arrangements for the transfer of the remaining small amount of apprentices who still need to be transferred.”

A spokesman from Derbyshire Police said: “Officers from Derbyshire Constabulary and officials from the Department for Education are meeting imminently to discuss the enquiries regarding 3aaa. At this time, no formal criminal investigation has been launched.”

Since the closure of 3aaa, the Government has established a taskforce to implement alternative arrangements for apprentices and their employers.

A statement on the Department for Education website said: “We are working to ensure that every apprentice is transferred to another provider to complete their apprenticeship.

“If you are a levy employer and need help with this, contact the National Apprenticeship Service by telephone on 0800 015 0600, or via email at helpdesk@manage-apprenticeships.service.gov.uk.”