Ex-Stride staff form firm to aid students
Former staff at training organisation Stride are setting up a company to help those left in the lurch by its collapse last week.
Seven former employees are working together to form Trans4m.
They hope initially to help students who had been taking level one courses in painting and decorating, bricklaying and hair and beauty to complete their qualifications.
A deal has been done with insolvency firm CBA, which is handling the liquidation of Stride, to allow Trans4m to use Stride's workshops in Belgrave Gate, Leicester.
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Natalie Gibson is behind Trans4m. She said: "We're trying to move as quickly as possible on this as we know time is of the essence for these young people.
"We're trying to secure funds and have been told we can use the workshops previously used by Stride.
"It will mean those students part-way through their level one courses should be able to complete them.
"We're contacting them and we would expect to get off the ground in two to four weeks.
"We're also working with other training providers to make sure apprentices on level two courses get help."
Stride's collapse left more than 280 people without jobs or training courses. It came after Revenue and Customs launched a legal bid to retrieve £200,000 in unpaid taxes.
Leicester training agency Skills for Enterprise hosted a meeting on Tuesday to coordinate support for those at risk of losing out on qualifications and employment.
Leicester City Council, the Prince's Trust and Leicester, Stephenson and South Leicestershire colleges were among those who attended.
Chris Shaw, of Skills for Enterprise, said the meeting had been "highly positive".
He said: "The National Careers Service, which operates from the old Connexions offices in Charles Street, Leicester, has set up a desk for some former Stride employees to operate from.
"Everyone at Stride is being contacted and advised what their next step should be.
"It's going to take some time, but it's clear there are other courses and apprenticeships."
Leicester College will take on at least 20 of Stride's trainees.
The college was contacted by the Skills Funding Agency as soon as news of Stride's collapse came out.
College principal Verity Hancock said: "Stride's direct contract with the Skills Funding Agency for 20 trainees means they can be passed on to us and the funding will follow them.
"But I'm confident we have courses and apprenticeships to meet the needs of others.
"Those working as an apprentice should be able to continue it under another provider."
Nico Booth, 19, from Saffron Lane, Leicester, was on a painting and decorating apprenticeship at Stride.
He said: "I've not heard anything yet about where I can go next, but I hope a way forward can be found for me and everyone else.
"I really want to get qualified and get into a job."