A food manufacturing firm has switched apprenticeship training providers due to “issues” with a north-east college.
Thistle Seafoods stopped using North East Scotland College (NESCOL) following claims the further education institution had not registered apprentices for their shifts properly and there were problems with class registration.
The decision came to light during a meeting between Conservative MSP Peter Chapman and senior management at the Peterhead-based fish processing plant.
Thistle Seafoods confirmed an Aberdeen-based company now trains its engineering staff.
But NESCOL principal Liz McIntyre has insisted that the college enjoys “positive” relationships with local businesses and stressed that concerns were always “dealt with immediately”.
Mr Chapman has now written to Ms McIntyre to ask for a meeting to discuss the issues raised.
Ms McIntyre said: “North East Scotland College has very positive relationships with many major employers in our region as we work together to ensure excellent opportunities for apprentices.
“Many of these employers have joined us this week to celebrate the achievements of our apprentices during Scottish Apprenticeship week.
“We engage in regular dialogue with our employers as we jointly review the progress of the apprentices and any issues or concerns are dealt with immediately.
“We welcome any opportunity to meet with employers and local stakeholders including MSP’s to discuss any evidence relating to the quality of our provision that they may have.
“At this point I have not yet received a letter from Mr Chapman or had the opportunity to meet with him to enable him to share his evidence with us.”
A Thistle Seafoods spokesman said senior staff were unable to resolve problems with the college and decided to use another company for training.
He said: “Tullos Training has played a key role in enabling us to run such a high quality scheme following our move to them in 2015.
“This was predominantly due to the issues that we experienced with NESCOL.
“As a local company we tried to work with NESCOL to resolve these issues and support our local college but unfortunately limited changes were made and we were forced to undertake a more radical solution with the move to Tullos.”
Mr Chapman said it was “concerning” for him to learn that a local company had chosen to turn to another training provider.
He said: “It was concerning for me to hear that a well-established company like Thistle Seafoods felt it necessary to source a different provider for their apprenticeship training.”