Major NVQ training provider, Affinity Training Limited, has been put into administration after going bust.
Hundreds of international students, many recruited from the Philippines, will lose fees paid in advance for NVQ training in Health and Social Care.
NVQ official awarding body OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations) confirmed today that Affinity Training Ltd had ceased trading and had been put into “administration”, a technical term which basically means the company can no longer pay its creditors and is now under the control of an administrator or insolvency practitioner.
A spokesperson for the Administrators, Leonard Curtis said:
“Affinity Training has ceased trading and the assets have been transferred to a third party, and students (creditors) have little or no chance of recovering any fees paid to Affinity.”
In other words, students who have paid advance fees to Affinity will not get their money back.
They confirmed that the “third party” was another college, but denied the new college was owned by Affinity’s former owner Mat Whittinham.
You can contact the Birmingham based Administrators on 0121 200 2111.
Immigration Matters has been trying to contact Affinity boss since Monday, but lines have been cut and the official website is down.
Having no luck on the phone, I decided to pay a visit to their offices in Stourbridge, the small town on the edge of Birmingham, about 100 miles from London. The West Midlands town looks prosperous with a High Street full of the usual small businesses: Insurance Broker, Solicitor, Accountant and a clutch of Estate Agents selling upmarket properties in leafy suburbs.
Affinity occupied two large floors in Copthall House, an impressive modern office building in the centre of Stourbridge.
I rang the bell still marked with the “Affinity” label, but not surprisingly received no response. I went round to the back of the building where I found John and his Wife, the Building Manager and Caretaker, emerging from the rear entrance into the large car park.
John informed me that the Affinity staff had removed the last of their furniture and papers on Friday, and had heard a rumour that they had moved to Brinley Place, an exclusive development in the centre of Birmingham.
John and his wife had cleaned the Affinity office for over two years and were surprised to see them leave so suddenly, especially as “business seemed to be booming”.
Affinity’s demise will have taken many more people by surprise, not least those unfortunate overseas candidates who had recently signed up and paid for NVQ courses in the Philippines.
Affinity works with Philippine based recruitment agency Kirsten, which has been heavily advertising in all the top national Sunday newspapers, such as the Manila Bulletin.
In the face of stiff competition for NVQ students, Kirsten had been aggressively marketing Affinity’s courses discounting the enrolment fee by 40%.
Kirsten, a POEA registered Agency, appears to trade as “Kirsten Student Development Inc”, described in their advertisement as an “Affiliate of Affinity Training Ltd”.
The website promoted, www.care-careers.co.uk, was also down today and the main telephone number given was out of service at the time I called.
What are your options if you are an international student currently enrolled on an NVQ course with Affinity Training?
- If you are in the UK on a student visa you must enrol in another college or you will be in breach of your visa conditions, which state that you should be in full time study. You will also need to inform the Home Office in writing of the change of educational establishment. Most colleges will assist you with this letter. To comply with your visa conditions the college must be on the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills or DIUS (Formerly DfES) Register. You can search the register at: http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/providersregister/search.cfm.
- If you are overseas and still waiting for your visa you should go back to the company which arranged your visa and seek a refund. Affinity recruited hundreds of NVQ students in the Philippines through Kirsten, who until recently were still signing up candidates.
- If you are overseas and have obtained a visa to study at Affinity, you should contact your adviser immediately or register with another college. Should you get stopped by Immigration Officers trying to enter the UK (to study at a college which no longer exists) you could be sent home.
Students have recently been approaching Immigration Matters complaining of a lack of contact from the training organisation which brought them into the UK. Many had not been given any training or support for over two months.
Employers have also been informed this week of the demise of Affinity in a letter from a new college offering to take over their NVQ training.
Special Affinity Student Surgery
Immigration Matters in conjunction with Majestic College are running Free Consultations daily for any international students affected by the collapse of Affinity.
Employers in need of on-going training for their staff can also arrange in-house training through Majestic.