By Claire West

Two companies, Precision Training UK Limited (“Precision”), and its successor, Aspire Training and Assessment Ltd (“Aspire”) who claimed to provide education services for the health-care sector have been wound up in the High Court following an investigation by The Insolvency Service.

Between October 2008 and June 2009 Precision, who operated out of premises in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, used a dedicated in-house telesales team to target nursing and care homes to encourage mostly foreign based staff to enrol on their NVQ and BTEC courses. Many of the would be students were persuaded into agreeing contracts by the offer of heavily discounted prices compared to other education providers.

The Insolvency Service investigation found that none of the 1200 students enrolled on Precision’s training schemes obtained any qualification through the company controlled and managed by husband and wife team Mr Salim Shivji and Mrs Nichola Shivji. Precision also failed to provide anywhere near the required level of training to its students and had not employed adequate numbers of qualified assessors to train students, who were based throughout the UK.

Precision learners would submit work for assessment via an online e-portfolio system. This system was turned off in 2009 when Precision failed to pay its bills. SkillWise UK Ltd, who provided the e-portfolio system to the company, have agreed to make the e-portfolios available online at no cost for a limited period of four months so that learners can have access to their work. The URL the learners will need to use to access their portfolio is: http://oldwww.vqmanager.co.uk

Learners will need their login and password, but there is a facility for those who have forgotten their password to be issued with a new one.

Speaking from their offices in Bracknell, SkillWise’s Managing Director, Wayne Soutter, said:

“We recognise the hard work students put into their studies and SkillWise is happy to offer students of Precision the opportunity to access their work at no cost. Fortunately the majority of training providers run reputable businesses putting the needs of their students first. It is good to know The Insolvency Service has taken such firm action against Precision and removed them from our industry.“

Commenting on the investigation, case manager David Hill for the Insolvency Service, said:

“The public should be reassured that The Insolvency Service works hard to remove dishonest, reckless and irresponsible people from the business environment. The action taken on this matter sends a clear and simple message to company directors; if you run a business that aims to cheat customers, you will be closed down.”

In June 2009 Precision Training UK Limited was abandoned leaving over 1000 students out of pocket and significant trade and Crown debts. Mr and Mrs Shivji claimed that part of Precision had been handed over to a Insolvency Practitioner, but investigations discovered that the name of the Practitioner given by the couple was false. The successor company Aspire was set up in an attempt to continue the business but after a short period that was also abandoned.

In winding up the companies in the public interest, on 19 May 2010, the High Court found that:-

both companies had failed to maintain adequate accounting records;

large cash withdrawals from the Precision bank account were unaccounted for;

the bank account itself had been used to meet expenditure on items that could only be described as personal;

Precision’s students and creditors together with the investigator, had been misled by Mr and Mrs Shivji as to what happened to the business of Precision at the time of its abandonment.

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