College to pick up 160 engineer apprentices after training organisation Eagit closes

EAGIT CEO, David Shorten. Picture: Denise Bradley

EAGIT CEO, David Shorten. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant copyright 2011

A college has said it will take on 160 engineering apprentices whose training centre announced it will close in July.

The East Anglian Group for Industrial Training (Eagit), which was formed in 1967, said last month it will shut because of its financial position, increased costs of complying with Ofsted requirements, and falling demand for traditional engineering apprenticeships.

The organisation was last year branded 'inadequate' by Ofsted inspectors, although they later said it was making 'reasonable progress'.

City College Norwich has now said it will take on the delivery of all Eagit's engineering apprenticeships from the end of July, safeguarding the long-term future for this provision.

More than 70 employers currently have a contract with Eagit for the delivery of apprenticeship training.

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The college and Eagit have written to all its existing employer partners with apprentices, and to the apprentices themselves, setting out the transition arrangements that are in place between Eagit and the college, and will hold open meetings on Thursday, April 24, and Thursday, May 1, to find out more about the transition plans.

A Skills Funding Agency spokesman said: 'The agency is assured that City College Norwich has the capacity available and resource planned to support learners currently studying with Eagit Ltd through to the timely completion of their apprenticeships.'

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'The agency continues to work with the provider to ensure that all learners are able to complete their learning with minimal disruption.'

David Shorten, chief executive of Eagit, said: 'Eagit is pleased to have secured provision for our current apprentices and the future of engineering apprenticeships in Norfolk.

'The strength of City College Norwich will ensure that this continues to develop. A large organisation, with the resources at hand, will allow this to happen. The current economic climate means it is increasingly difficult for a small provider like ourselves to survive.'

The college said the two organisations have an established positive working relationship which extends over more than 30 years, which included the college delivering the technical certificate component of some Eagit apprenticeships since 2005.

Corrienne Peasgood, principal of City College Norwich, said: 'We will draw on our existing expertise in engineering training, our well-established relationship with Eagit, and our extensive experience of apprenticeship delivery to ensure a smooth transition for both employers and apprentices.'

Have you been affected by Eagit's closure? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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