Training centre funding cut

Icoco training. (d16011208)
Icoco training. (d16011208)

The owner of a Cleckheaton training firm says it will stay open despite losing government funding and sacking seven tutors.

The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has terminated its contract to provide iCOCO Training with funding worth £500,000 a year after having “concerns” about the company’s finances during a recent audit.

Allisonne Reilly, owner of iCOCO in Law Street, said: “We have been going through a restructuring process and have removed seven tutors.

“The SFA still funds places here and the agreement lasts until December, and there are still tutors here to cover classes. We have served the community very well.”

The SFA, which provides funding for skills training through contracts with colleges, training centres and employers, wrote to iCOCO in September, saying its contract would be terminated on December 5.

The agency said in a statement: “The decision was made following concerns about the quality of learners’ records and financial claims submitted to the agency by iCOCO, that came to light during a recent audit, and is fully in accordance with the terms of contract. The agency is not conducting any investigation into any matters relating to iCOCO Training.

“Our priority has been to ensure that there is minimal disruption to learners. All learners have now been transferred to either Kirklees College or Calderdale College in order to complete their learning.”

One learner at iCOCO told the Spenborough Guardian: “I had been looking forward to doing this course – I have been unemployed for five years and I was happy that I had been given the opportunity to better myself. But a lot of tutors at the centre have left.”

Miss Reilly denied her students had been moved to other colleges, and said classes would still be put on.

“Our learners have the option to move to Kirklees College or Calderdale College, but I would find it very unlikely they would want to go,” she said. “Our learners do not have to go anywhere.”