Jobs lost after training and education provider shuts down

A Yorkshire-based education provider has ceased operations and confirmed it is appointing administrators.

The Opportunity Centre, run by The Aspire-Igen Group Ltd, has bases in Bradford, Leeds, Hull, York and Scarborough.

Aspire-Igen offered education programmes for 575 young people across West Yorkshire and Humberside, including learners with high needs.

All employees of the company have been informed they will be made redundant. The company’s financial results for the year ended November 2021 said Aspire-Igen employed 176 people.

The business has blamed years of austerity which led to the closure of the Connexions services, as well as loss of EU funding. It added that following on from pandemic lockdowns it had experienced its “lowest ever levels of learner engagement.”

It explained it feared it would be unable to recruit enough learners to make the company financially viable.

Managers therefore declined the offer of a further contract for the delivery of Study Programmes, and all of the provider’s centres will shut after the completion of the GCSE exams.

Even before news of the administration, Aspire-Igen confirmed it had closed some of its centres as a result of an “inadequate” Ofsted report.

Ofsted downgraded the provider to the bottom rating following a visit in December last year.