Administrators have been appointed to two collapsed Worcestershire training firms - providing a ray of hope for anxious students who paid in advance for courses.
The Birmingham office of PKF is now in control of sister companies Access 2 Careers, which provides plumber and electrician training, and IT course provider Advent Computer Training - three weeks after students received an email telling them the company had ceased trading.
Thousands of students from all over the country were left in limbo while they waited for the announcement of an administrator, which would signal a chance to recoup some of the money paid out for courses.
Some had parted with up to £10,000 to enrol on distance learning courses with the Hagley Hall-based firms but were notified in January by the companies’ directors Ivor Allchurch and Ashley Jones that the two businesses had ceased to trade.
PKF partners Ian Gould and Brian Hamblin have been appointed to run the businesses, which employed around 250 people and had a joint annual turnover of £30 million, while a buyer is sought.
Mr Gould said: “With the coming of the credit crunch there has been a lack of available finance to potential students and this has impacted on the ability of the directors to continue the two businesses.
“Our job is to find the best solution for both the creditors and the students and we are looking for a buyer for the business.
“We are hopeful that a buyer can be found who will take over responsibility for the students and their courses.”
He said it was too early to give a figure for the total liability across both companies but added: “The size of the liability will in the end be largely dependent on how successful we are in mitigating the students’ losses through achieving an early sale.”
Many of the affected students had arranged finance though Barclays and are still paying for the training while the bank seeks an alternative provider to allow them to finish their courses.
There have been suggestions that another local company - Dudley-based Computeach - could step in to fill the role for those students on IT courses.
Computeach managing director Karl Parkinson said the firm was keen to get involved, but stressed there were still negotiations ongoing.
He said: “We would love to be involved but it all boils down to a proposal from us which is attractive to Barclays.”