Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Students in limbo as Hagley IT firm Advent goes bust

Advent sign
Students do not know if they will complete their courses

A Worcestershire based computer training firm has gone into insolvency, leaving students unsure if they have lost their money.

Advent sent e-mail messages to trainees on Wednesday evening announcing they had failed to secure funding and their training would stop.

Students from across the UK had paid course fees of up to £4,500 to the firm whose headquarters is in Hagley.

About 6,000 people have been affected the closure.

Advent arranged credit agreements through Barclays, which was made aware of the closure on Thursday morning.

Barclays spokesman Andrew Bond said: "We recognise how important this training is for people and have formed a dedicated team to help any students find equivalent or better training at no extra cost to them so they can fulfil their aims."

Some students claim Advent was still accepting money for training as recently as Wednesday.

'Money tight'

Online consumer forums have filled with worried messages from those who have taken out credit agreements or loans to pay for their course.

David Knight, 32, a dry cleaning worker from Maidstone in Kent, paid £1,000 of a £4,500 credit agreement for Microsoft systems training, which he started at the end of 2008.

He said: "A thousand pounds for what? Nothing. It's affected a lot of people.

"How long have they been taking money from people, knowing they've been sinking?

"Money's tight for everyone at the moment."

Advent employed about 200 staff, who were sent home over a week ago.

Company Director Ivor Allchurch said: "We are devastated for our staff, we are devastated for our students. The banks don't understand our business."

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