Luton, United Kingdom (PressExposure) November 12, 2009 -- Barclays Partner Finance, a subsidiary of Barclaycard, was praised by Train4Trade Skills today for protecting the futures of thousands of people caught in the collapse of a leading skills training provider.
The bank stepped in The Skills Centre, in Splott, Cardiff, which trained students as gas fitters, plumbers, IT technicians and electricians, went in to administration.
The shock sent despair through thousands of Skills Centre students who had spent thousands on courses. One student, who did not want to be named, said: "We paid thousands and we all feared the money would be lost."
The Skills Centre was struggling after Aled Edwards, who earned Â£80,000 as the company's finance director, was jailed for 16 months for misappropriating almost Â£100,000 of the firm's money. Cardiff Crown Court heard how Edwards, 38, of Park Avenue, Whitchurch, wrote cheques to himself totalling Â£97,516.82 over four months.But then, out of the blue, Barclays and Train4Trade Skills became involved.
Myra Smallman, of the company, said the bank provided loans to fund The Skills Centre students' training. "At a time when banks are having such a bad time as far as their image is concerned, it is nice to see one doing something big to help people out. Many of the students were financed by Barclays, so Barclays has arranged for them to study with us," said Ms Smallman. Ms Smallman said ATL has worked round-the-clock to contact The Skills Centre's students. "But the paper work was in a mess and it took us ages to contact all the students. But now many are getting close to completing their skills training."
Lee McNeil, one of the students who benefitted, said: "I would like to thank Barclays for honouring my training programme following the demise of the Skills Centre. Whilst the Skills Centre was in existence my training was delivered by a company in Liverpool. However, when they went into liquidation I was concerned that all the money I had paid had been wasted. "You can imagine my relief when I discovered that ATL had been given permission by Barclays to honour my agreement and complete my training. Having completed some training with ATL (a subsidiary of Train4Trade Skills) I have now realised that every cloud does have a silver lining after all."
James Parsons, a plumbing student also added his thanks to Barclays. "I wish to express my sincere thanks to Barclays for enabling me to continue with my plumbing studies at ATL after the unfortunate closure of the Skills Centre. Their support has meant I have been able to successfully complete my training when I thought all had been lost. Once again, many thanks."
Nick Hayward, managing director at ATL says, "Just a few months ago a heck of a lot of people desperate to improve the lives of themselves and their families were facing a very bleak future indeed. But thanks to the intervention of Train4Trade Skills and Barclays, every single one of them can now finish their course, get qualified and start their new career all at no additional cost. The banks have had a rough ride in the press recently. But in this instance, I think the folks at Barclays should be very proud of themselves indeed. Well done Barclays."
A spokesman for Barclays said: "Barclays is committed to using our industry expertise and specialists to support such propositions. By really understanding the industry sector, Barclays has been able to provide innovative financial solutions to enable Apprenticeship Training Ltd to secure and deliver the required courses to many relieved students."