THE company behind the retail training centre at Liverpool One has collapsed.
Around 70 staff at training provider, Scientiam, were told on Monday afternoon that the firm was now in administration.
Until last year Scientiam was based in Birkenhead but is now located in Hanover Street in Liverpool city centre.
It is a social enterprise which also has offices in Chester, Runcorn and Warrington.
According to the last set of accounts filed in January last year, its ultimate parent company is Wirral Metropolitan College. However, college principal Sue Higginson insisted that was not the case.
“We provide services to Scientiam but we do not own them,” she said. She referred all other enquiries to Manchester-based administrators, Mazars.
Ms Higginson was present when Scientiam staff were informed of the administration as was chief executive Sara Challinor and Mazars administrator Tim Askham.
Liverpool’s elected mayor Joe Anderson officially opened the £170,000 Academy One training centre at Liverpool One in April 2011.
It is a joint venture between the National Skills Academy for Retail (NSAR) and Scientiam.
Retailers that have worked with the academy include Asda, Debenhams and TK Maxx.
Its offers state- of-the-art training and conference facilities, including a mock shop, and was the sole point of delivery of the Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas Masterclasses aimed at independent retailers.
The sessions help shop owners learn new skills to attract customers and improve their shops with an injection of creativity and vision devised by the TV retail expert.
Scientiam last filed accounts in January last year covering the 12 months to July 31, 2011.
They showed the company recorded a pre-tax loss of £29,641 from a turnover of just over £3m. This was a significant improvement on losses of more than £306,000 in the previous year.
As well as training, Scientiam also offers a “search and selection” service for employers under a Government-funded scheme.
It offers pre-screening, pre-recruitment training and even arranges rooms at its offices to hold the interviews in.
In July last year it appointed Ms Challinor as its managing director. She joined from NSAR where she was national manager.
No one from either Mazars or Scientiam was available for comment.