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Laing Training claims non-existent NVQ rights

NEWS - Apprenticeships on offer nearly a year after suspension of CITB and City & Guilds accreditation

ONE OF the largest private construction trainers in the south-east is offering apprenticeships to young people despite losing its right to register trainees for NVQ qualifications.

John Laing Training, which has centres in Newham, Edmonton, Elstree and Hackney, had its accreditation suspended by qualification bodies CITB and City & Guilds last December.

But its website claims: 'Training centres are all NVQ accredited and run to provide nationally recognised qualifications. We offer apprenticeship programmes to allow learners to achieve an NVQ2 or NVQ3.' Sally Kavanagh, director of London Construction Training, said: 'I have come across many trainees in private sector training who believe they are working towards an accredited qualification when in fact they are not and have never been registered for such qualifications with the awarding body.

'This is extremely unfair on trainees whose consequences can be losing their jobs, passing apprenticeship age limits and being back where they started.' The CITB's NVQ helpline confirmed that JLT had been suspended from registering candidates for NVQs, Foundation Construction Awards and Intermediate Construction Awards.

A JLT spokeswoman refused to comment on why its NVQ accreditation was suspended.

But NVQ guidelines recommend such suspension for the loss of the integrity of assessment decisions, the danger of invalid certification claims, or no qualified internal verification.

JLT trains 1,100 people every year, with construction courses for up to 400 learners at any one time. The company turned over £4.2 million in the 16 months to December 2004, making pre-tax prof its of £265,000.

Previous JLT managing director Mark Lunn left the company in June. JLT refused to comment on why he left.

A statement from JLT managing director Lorraine Tomlinson said: 'We are currently working closely with the CITB on a process of continuous improvement. We aim to have a full set of accreditations in place in the next few months.

'Some candidates will be externally assessed in the interim, but we will continue to provide them with a high level of professional and pastoral support.'