Precision Training UK Ltd, the NVQ provider has reportedly closed its offices in Wembley according to a report by Balita Pinoy.
The online Filipino news resource published the story last week following a series of reports to Immigration Matters that a number of Filipino students had been left “high and dry” after paying hundreds of pounds in upfront fees weeks before the owners of the college disappeared.
Since Precision Training collapsed students have been sent letters by a company called ‘Aspire Training’, which claims to have taken over from Precision due to ‘Precision Training going into liquidation’.
Despite this, the company is offering no refunds and will not take any fees paid into account when advising students to sign up with them to continue their training.
During investigations into the affair by Balita Pinoy, a number of issues have come to light it claims:
- As many as 4,500 students from the UK, Philippines, Ghana, Bulgaria and other countries may have paid money to Precision, owned by Nichola and Salim Shivji.
- NVQ awarding body EDEXCEL had allegedly imposed sanctions against Precision as far back as May 2008, preventing them from taking on new students.
Mrs Monika Holmes, Project Worker for the Migrant Workers Northwest Organization has been contacted by a number of Filipino students and has carried out her own enquiries. Monika said:
“After being contacted by 4 students from the Philippines, we were told that they were very worried as they paid thousand of pounds to Precision Training UK Ltd after being promised NVQ qualifications for very cheap prices.”
Companies House lists Precision Training UK Limited (with the same company number as quoted on Precision’s own website – 06394051) at: 889 HARROW ROAD, SUDBURY, WEMBLEY, MIDDLESEX, HA0 2RH
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE A PRECISION OR VICTIM OF A BANKRUPT COLLEGE?
If you are on a student visa you must be in ‘full time study’ in order to comply with your visa conditions.
You must, therefore, register with another training provider, which is on (not “applying to go on” or “waiting for approval”) the Government-approved Tier 4 Sponsors Register, as soon as possible.
Before you enrol with another college, Cynthia Barker, a qualified Immigration Adviser and Centre Manager of Tier 4 registered NVQ provider <a href=”http://www.majesticcollege.org/” rel=”nofollow”>Majestic College </a> offers some useful advice to stranded students.
Cynthia has helped thousands of overseas students and Work Permit holders over the last 10 years and offers student seven tips or steps to use when a college fails.
Here are Cynthia’s 7 STEPS:
STEP 1 – MAKE SURE THE COLLEGE IS ON THE UK BORDER SPONSORS REGISTER
The first step is to make sure the college is on the official UK Border Agency Tier 4 Sponsors Register, which you can check yourself by going to the UK Border website at – http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/employersandsponsors/pointsbasedsystem/registerofsponsorseducation.
If the provider is not on the register, do not enrol, even if they are in the process of applying.
STEP 2 – CARRY OUT YOUR OWN ‘DUE DILIGENCE’ AND CHECKS
Do not just rely on the fact that the company is on the sponsors register. The UK Border Agency have approved and placed many colleges on the register which have later gone out of business. No regulator can monitor a company 24 hours a day or check whether they have filed accounts or paid their bills. They carry out checks before a college is approved, in some cases without an immediate visit, and may not see the college again for another year.
You must carry out your own ‘due diligence’ and satisfy yourself that a college is sound.
One easy way of checking out any UK registered limited company is to carry out a free Companies House WebCheck on the official companies register at: http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/41aa73ba7639ea6c7f306b71541cf968/wcframe?name=accessCompanyInfo
This simple check, which you can do from anywhere in the world, will reveal whether or not the company, or corporation, exists, when it was formed and if it is still in business or ‘Dissolved’. It will also tell you when they filed their last accounts and if their return is overdue.
For instance, a quick check on Precision Training UK Limited reveals their status as: “Active – Proposal to Strike off”, which means they are about to be struck off and will cease to exist. The WebCheck also shows that the company has “No Accounts Filed” and their Annual Return is “Overdue”.
Other ways of verifying a college or business are to purchase a credit check from the many credit referencing agencies, talk to the awarding and accreditation body or the regulator.
But the best way to check out a college is by old fashioned ‘word of mouth’ – asking around. You should also ask the college if you can talk to existing students before parting with your money.
Ask around and do your own investigations and you’ll be surprised what you can find out.
STEP 3 – VISIT THE PREMISES
This is a ‘no brainer’ and yet is neglected by so many people in this internet age. The best way is to drop in unannounced and see what’s going on. Are the staff friendly and helpful? Are there any students on the premises and is any training actually taking place? Does the building and its surroundings look safe? Most important, how does it ‘feel’, what’s the atmosphere like? Is there life, or does the place resemble a morgue?
After all, this is going to be your ‘home’ for a long time so you’d better make sure you feel comfortable before enrolling.
STEP 4 – CHECK TUITION FEES
Are the fees published and are they transparent? How are the fees charged? For instance, do they charge the same fees for local students and international students? And does the college require a large upfront payment or will they allow you to pay by monthly instalments?
Beware of signing heavy binding contracts which tie you into long term agreements and make it extremely difficult to leave the college. You are entering into an educational arrangement, not a marriage!
STEP 6 – MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR NVQ EVIDENCE AND PORTFOLIO
When Affinity went bust last year hundreds of student lost their work and portfolios. They had nothing to show for their hard work and, importantly, no evidence of ‘satisfactory academic progress’ to show the Home Office when renewing their visas.
In some cases your portfolio will be with the college or assessor awaiting verification, which is perfectly normal. But where a college has gone out of business you may have to track down your assessor and do some digging to retrieve your work. The best way to avoid problems is to keep copies of your work.
If you cannot get hold of your portfolio, don’t panic. Talk to your new college and assessor and they will advise you on how to achieve your NVQ award.
STEP 6 – IF IN DOUBT, CONSULT YOUR IMMIGRATION ADVISER
Obviously, as an international student, you must comply with the immigration rules. A lot of students and their employers panic and worry when students plan to move training providers. Some employers recommend local training providers which may not be approved to recruit international students.
Do not depend on advice from well-meaning friends and relatives – they may not be aware of the rules. Your immigration adviser can help you with UK Border Agency and visa problems.
STEP 7 – DON’T SIT THERE WORRYING, TAKE ACTION!
Finally, whatever you do, don’t hide or bury your head in the sand. Take action, do your research and find another college.
There’s little point in crying over the money you’ve lost, because the chances are that, like Affinity victims, you are unlikely to get a penny back. Go out and earn some more money and move on with your life.
Cynthia also said that, as manager of Majestic College, she would be as “flexible as possible” on initial fees with students who have lost money with Precision or other failed NVQ colleges.
Drop in visitors welcome – no appointment needed!
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: