APPRENTICES left facing an uncertain future when the shutters came down at a Johnstone training company have been handed a lifeline.

Pledges of support have been given to almost 90 apprentices left in the lurch when Paisley and Johnstone Training Group closed after more than 50 years of trading – apparently without any warning.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the national skills agency, has put an action plan in place to support those being laid off to make sure they can complete their training.

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A spokesperson said: “SDS is working with the administrator, employers and training providers to make arrangements that will ensure a smooth transition to alternative training providers so Modern Apprentices can complete their training.

“We will also support any apprentices, other Paisley and Johnstone Training Group employees, or contractors affected by the situation through the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment service.”

Tom Arthur, MSP for Renfrewshire South, has hit out at the way the closure was handled. 

He told The Gazette: “This news comes as a real blow to the area and is deeply concerning, especially as there appears to have been no explanation offered to employees or warning given.

“My office stands ready to support any constituents who find themselves unfairly affected by the sudden closure and I would encourage anyone with concerns to get in touch.”

The company’s website describes it as a training provider with more than 50 years experience.

It adds: “We deliver engineering apprenticeships, domestic and commercial gas training, construction training, engineering and health and safety short courses and oil training.”

Phone calls to the firm’s base in Laighcartside Street, Johnstone, met an answering machine.

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Meanwhile, a Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “We want to support and develop all businesses in Renfrewshire as we continue to create a thriving local economy, so it is disappointing that Paisley and Johnstone Training Group has had to close.

“When we were informed that this may happen, we immediately tried to arrange a meeting to offer our support and advice but, unfortunately, this was not taken up.

“We will do all we can to assist Skills Development Scotland ... as they offer their support to the apprentices and staff members affected.”

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