Harrogate College says it has apologised over delays experienced by some of its students receiving qualifications and claims it has caused “serious hardship” as a result.
The college’s apology, which comes at a time when it is joining the Luminate Education Group as part of an ambitious five-year recovery plan, follows claims by a long-standing Harrogate family business which was founded nearly 80 years ago.
Batchelor C K Ltd, which is located in Cold Bath Place, said its apprentices had had an “appalling service” from the college.
A spokesperson for the successful family firm said: “We are a small, local construction company who have been established in the Harrogate area since 1935.
"We have trained apprentices; joiners, plasterers, roofers, decorators for many years with many remaining with our company as time-served tradesmen.
“Unfortunately, our current young men who have studied their joinery and carpentry qualifications through Harrogate College have received appalling service from them and their parent company, Hull College.
“The apprentices in question completed their Level 2 qualification in summer 2018, however we are still waiting for confirmation that their work has reached the appropriate standard and that the CITB can be informed they have passed the course.
“I understand from one of our apprentices that the whole cohort are yet to receive verification of their course.”
In an official response, a spokesperson for Harrogate College said the situation was a “one-off” and they were working to ensure the problem did not reoccur.
The spokesperson said: “Hull College has been working with Harrogate College to ensure that learners receive their qualifications.
“The delay experienced by the learners in receiving their qualifications is due to a one off procedural issue. Harrogate College has apologised to the learners for the delay.
“This issue is being, and will be, rectified as soon as possible.
“Staff at the college will ensure a positive outcome is achieved for learners.”
The Harrogate family firm affected said the issue was far from an academic one for either the apprentices or itself.
A spokesperson for Batchelor’s said: “This has caused great hardship amongst the young men.
“Some students have been forced to leave their employment and seek work in other trades rather than in the career they were training for while others are still being paid at the apprentice rate rather than that of a qualified joiner.
“In addition to the verification of the work, allowing our staff to continue with their education, Harrogate College have not informed the Construction Industry Training Board that the courses are complete which prevents our company from claiming our grant funding.
“We are a small company who rely on assistance from the CITB to continue supporting young people through the apprenticeship scheme, as we have done for many years.
“Without access to this funding we are unsure if we will be able to continue employing apprentices in the future.”
Recent years have seen unsettled times for Harrogate College which can trace its origins to the University Extension movement, which began in 1873 under the auspices of Cambridge University.
Optimism has grown after the handover to Luminate Education Group, a collective of education providers, which also includes Leeds City College, Keighley College, Leeds College of Music and the White Rose Academies Trust.