Connect with us

News

Students in limbo as Cambridgeshire Combined Authority pulls funding

Avatar photo

Published

on

A training provider funded by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA) has been left facing potential ruin after a payments dispute.

Sheffield based GNR Training has run courses in rail and engineering at centres in Peterborough and Cambridge, but CAPCA auditors Mazars say “funding errors” have been identified.

More than 30 rail engineering learners are reported to have been left in limbo as a consequence of the dispute between GNR and CAPCA.

Next week’s audit and governance committee will be told the amounts involved are exempt from publication on the basis that the information may relate to “any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation, or prosecution of crime.

Future in doubt for Sheffield based GNR Training who opened a rail learning centre in Peterborough but now in payments dispute with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Future in doubt for Sheffield based GNR Training who opened a rail learning centre in Peterborough but now in payments dispute with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

“Results have been provided separately to members via exempt report.”

The accounting errors were discovered after CAPCA requested – for the 2021/2022 academic year – the testing of four of its 25 providers; this included two FE colleges and two independent training providers.

https://twitter.com/GnrTraining/status/1559167235398287370

Audits were planned and performed “to obtain all relevant information and sufficient evidence to express an opinion over use of funds, which the provider had claimed and received from CAPCA over the course of that academic year”.

The audit committee will hear that as part of testing this year, the Combined Authority decided to sample check to see if learning aims are being delivered against the Ofqual recommended minimum guided learning hours (GLH).

Future in doubt for Sheffield based GNR Training who opened a rail learning centre in Peterborough but now in payments dispute with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Future in doubt for Sheffield based GNR Training who opened a rail learning centre in Peterborough but now in payments dispute with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

“This was in response to sector intelligence, whereby concerns were raised that some providers are delivering learning aims with significantly lower guided learning hours than recommended yet are claiming the full amount of associated funding,” says the report.

“The Combined Authority has responded to this intelligence and used the sample testing to inform a new policy approach for 2022/23, whereby providers will be expected to deliver a minimum of 70% GLH to access the full amount of funding.

“This rate is in line with other Mayoral Combined Authorities and will be reviewed during the coming year to ensure the Combined Authority achieves best value for money.”

Future in doubt for Sheffield based GNR Training who opened a rail learning centre in Peterborough but now in payments dispute with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Future in doubt for Sheffield based GNR Training who opened a rail learning centre in Peterborough but now in payments dispute with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. Clip from promotional video for GNR.

According to the education investigative magazine FE Week, GNR Training is facing closure after CAPCA suddenly terminated its adult education contract amid the disputed funding claims.

GNR told FE Week it strongly refuted the authority’s allegations and claims the provider has itself been underpaid by officials over the past three years.

“GNR is now attempting to rally its local MP to intervene in what it claims to be a ‘stitch-up’ situation in which it was set up to fail’”, FE Week reports.

According to FE Week, CAPCA has supported GNR from an opening contract in 2020/21 worth £82,000 to a contract worth half a million pounds the following year and followed that up with a five-year contract from last August worth millions.

Future in doubt for Sheffield based GNR Training who opened a rail learning centre in Peterborough but now in payments dispute with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority


Future in doubt for Sheffield based GNR Training who opened a rail learning centre in Peterborough but now in payments dispute with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Despite GNR opening a training centre in Brassey Close, Peterborough, they say the contract with CAPCA was terminated in April of this year.

Courses on offer from GNR included a 21-week level 3 diploma in engineering technology and it had also concluded 12-week level 2 diplomas in rail engineering.

GNR Training, whose website is currently down, has described itself as a “recognised provider of excellence.

“Our success has happened because of the people who learn with us.

Future in doubt for Sheffield based GNR Training who opened a rail learning centre in Peterborough but now in payments dispute with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Future in doubt for Sheffield based GNR Training who opened a rail learning centre in Peterborough but now in payments dispute with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

“At GNR Training when we train our learners in rail and engineering, they also gain other valuable skills to support them in creating a better future for themselves.

“Our rail training, Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Technology has seen people move from unemployment into high level roles at Network Rail, Balfour Beaty and one of the learners has now joined GNR as a tutor himself.

“GNR actively support veterans through our re-settlement support onto the Level 3 Diploma.”

FE Week says it has seen the confidential report going to the audit and governance committee, and says it contains allegations of an overpayment by CAPCA – who were now asking for it back.

GNR has denied any wrongdoing and has asked for help from their MP.

Rachael Bull from GNR told FE Week: “The need for rail people is phenomenal, it is off the chart.

“Now there is a training company that is wiped off the face of the planet – that was training good engineers that had jobs to go to – the industry as a whole suffers.”

Facebook

Read More

A snapshot of the horror that awaited RSPCA and council officials when they visited the Wardy Hill near Ely home of Jackie Draper A snapshot of the horror that awaited RSPCA and council officials when they visited the Wardy Hill near Ely home of Jackie Draper
News1 day ago

Greedy Cambridgeshire breeder crams 44 dogs into her house of horrors

Cruel breeder's actions 'deliberate, pre-planned, premeditated and motivated by profit'

News1 day ago

OPINION: We can’t afford another five years of the Conservatives doing Peterborough down

'This is our chance to build a better Britain, and a better Peterborough'

Luton councillor Javeria Hussain has been confirmed as Labour’s choice to fight the forthcoming General Election in NE Cambridgeshire Luton councillor Javeria Hussain has been confirmed as Labour’s choice to fight the forthcoming General Election in NE Cambridgeshire
News1 day ago

Steve Barclay’s fingerprints as a minister ‘are all over this truly terrible administration’ says Labour hopeful

She stood as a Labour MEP candidate for the East of England in 2019

Ian Sollom is the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire Ian Sollom is the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire
News1 day ago

OPINION: The Conservative party are simply unfit to run our NHS

Patients should be able to see their GP when they need to

The new Wisbech Free school will be run by the Brooke Weston Trust, which also runs the Thomas Clarkson Academy (above), and is expected to be fully operational by 2026. The new Wisbech Free school will be run by the Brooke Weston Trust, which also runs the Thomas Clarkson Academy (above), and is expected to be fully operational by 2026.
News1 day ago

Students spared 40 mile round trip commute after agreement reached to fund Wisbech Free school

The new school will be run by the Brooke Weston Trust

Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston with amnesty weapons at Parkside police station Cambridge (left) and Thorpe Wood police station (right) Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston with amnesty weapons at Parkside police station Cambridge (left) and Thorpe Wood police station (right)
News1 day ago

Swords and machetes among 150 weapons surrendered during Cambridgeshire amnesty

Maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison

Cllr Javeria Hussain has been a member of Luton Council since 2019 and is portfolio holder for skills and employability. Cllr Javeria Hussain has been a member of Luton Council since 2019 and is portfolio holder for skills and employability.
News2 days ago

Labour selects Luton councillor for NE Cambridgeshire General Election battle

Cllr Hussain is a director of London Luton Airport Ltd

Jesus Green Lock footbridge (above) has reopened, to the delight of residents and Cambridge Beer festival goers. PHOTO: Camcycle Jesus Green Lock footbridge (above) has reopened, to the delight of residents and Cambridge Beer festival goers. PHOTO: Camcycle
News2 days ago

Council gives green light to walk over water as Jesus Green Lock footbridge re-opens

Baits Bite Lock footbridge, Cambridge, will remain closed

MP Jonathan Djanogly (left) with NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay MP Jonathan Djanogly (left) with NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay
News2 days ago

46 word ‘goodbye to Huntingdon’ tweet by MP Jonathan Djanogly 

Selection committee voted 12-9 to reject Mr Djanogly as their candidate

Matthew Warren (right) with (left) Ben Obese-Jecty the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Huntingdon earlier this year. The candidate had asked to meet with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue. Others pictured are area commander Stuart Smith, and ACFO Jon Anderson. Matthew Warren (right) with (left) Ben Obese-Jecty the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Huntingdon earlier this year. The candidate had asked to meet with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue. Others pictured are area commander Stuart Smith, and ACFO Jon Anderson.
News2 days ago

Matthew Warren to become £173,000 a year chief fire officer for Cambridgeshire

As deputy chief executive he earns £150,000 a year