Victory in fight to save Chesterfield training scheme

The DT has led the campaign to help save NLT's training services in Chesterfield
The DT has led the campaign to help save NLT's training services in Chesterfield

The campaign to save a Chesterfield training company which has supported young apprentices from more than 40 years has won a major victory.

Last month the Derbyshire Times launched campaign to save NLT Training Services after we revealed it was facing the axe after funding was put under threat.

But now the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has agreed to continue funding training for existing apprentices until the end of their training programme providing employers are happy to continue using NLT.

This decision paves the way for a take-over of NLT by WEBS Training Limited securing not only apprenticeship training provision but also around 20 jobs across NLT’s Chesterfield and Scunthorpe sites.

The announcement follows an Ofsted inspection late last year which saw NLT graded ‘inadequate’, resulting in the ESFA withdrawing funding and which threatened the long-standing training provider with closure.

Sarah Temperton, chief executive of NLT Training Services, said: “It is fair to say that we are all very relieved.

“We have been working hard to secure the future of the organisation and this sends out a very positive message to employers, apprentices and staff.

“Our thanks go to our apprentices, employers, the business community, WEBS and the Derbyshire Times for the support they have given NLT during this difficult time.”

The takeover by WEBS, a specialist manufacturing training provider based in Nottingham which is rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, has saved 21 jobs and secured the future of much-needed engineering apprentice training provision in the area.

Commenting on the takeover, Sammy Jones, managing director of WEB Training, said: “WEBS and NLT have worked together for a number of years, and we are both committed to delivering a unique experience to both learners and employers and developing and delivering outstanding training for industry by industry.

“The takeover made absolute sense and I am delighted that the EFSA’s decision means we can now press on with our plans to fully integrate NLT. Learners and employers will both benefit from the increased variety and enhanced training provision that we can now offer.”

Sarah added: “WEBS is already working hard with us to drive the quality of training forward. The additional resources that WEBS brings will enable the business improvement changes instigated earlier this year within NLT to be accelerated. It is an exciting time for everyone involved and an opportunity to deliver a greater variety of specialised training in Chesterfield.”

WEBS and NLT have worked together for a number of years, with their respective chief executives sitting on each other’s board. They are also both Group Training Association (GTA) members, committed to delivering a unique experience to both learners and employers and developing and delivering outstanding training for industry by industry.

WEBS, which was founded by four of Long Eaton’s major manufacturing companies, has been delivering furniture training since 1968.

The takeover of NLT’s Scunthorpe and Chesterfield operations will give WEBS a full East Midlands presence and expand the number of apprenticeships offered across all three sites, further helping meet local training demand.

The takeover by the provider, which is rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, will see NLT rebranded and all of its 200 Level 2 and 3 apprentices transferred ahead of the new academic year in 2018.

NLT is now calling on local employers to use its services. Sarah added: “Any employers looking for apprentice training or to recruit an apprentice, should get in touch with us as soon as possible. WEBS will shortly begin recruiting engineering and business services apprentices in Chesterfield and Scunthorpe and we look forward to supporting learners and businesses long into the future.”