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Apprenticeships and 300 jobs saved after buyer found for controversial training firm

More than 300 jobs have been saved after a buyer was found for controversial FE provider Elmfield Training, which went into administration last month.

The majority of the Warrington-based firm’s business and assets have been sold to EQL Solutions, a subsidiary of CareTech Holdings, also securing the places of around 5,700 people currently enrolled on Elmfield’s apprenticeships and training programmes.

However, Elmfield’s contract with supermarket Morrisons is likely to be taken over by another provider, along with approximately 50 additional staff.

Dan Smith, of administrators Deloitte, said the sale “ends a period of great uncertainty for employees and ensures disruption to learners is minimised”.

He added that, while the firm was “historically profitable”, it incurred pre-tax losses of £6.4 million in 2012.

A report by BBC’s Newsnight last month - broadcast before Elmfield went into administration - alleged that the firm was guilty of malpractice in its dealings with employees at Morrisons, receiving government funding for apprenticeships it did not provide.

At the time, the company insisted there was “no evidence of malpractice”, but launched an investigation, although no findings have yet been published.

The training provider was rated inadequate by Ofsted in June, with inspectors finding that it had produced "unacceptably low" results.

Two years ago, TES reported that the company had paid former majority shareholder Gerald Sydall a dividend of nearly £3 million. Mr Sydall ceased to be a director of the firm in September.

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