Advent Computer Training and Access2Trade go bust

At the gym yesterday the TV news in the changing room carried an item about Advent Computer Training going bust. One of the guys there said that he had been a victim of this company. He said a high pressure salesman had come to his house and promised him a highly paid career and that they would help him find a job. So he signed up to a finance agreement with Barclays for £5,000. When the course arrived it was no good for him and he gave up on it. But he still has to pay off the £5,000 to Barclays with several years of monthly payments. Even with Advent bust he will still owe that money.

It appears that what finished Advent off was Barclays stopping the supply of such student loans. In their words: “Barclays Bank are the main student funding partner and we have worked with them closely for several years. Just before Christmas Barclays informed us that they were pulling out of the student training sector with effect from 31st January 2010.”

So you can see what was happening here. Barclays were giving out loans to students and then handing the money over to the company. The company should have held that money in trust and only used it as the course progressed. But they didn’t. Obviously it was being spent, going somewhere, almost immediately. So when the supply of new money dried up there was nothing left to finance the training that the students had paid up for. Within weeks the company was bust.

I don’t like this business model. Why should the provider of a service (in this case training) be paid in advance with a lump sum for several years of that training? Universities and colleges don’t do this.

In my opinion using a finance company, like Barclays, is also pernicious. The student’s relationship for their course is with the training company, yet their relationship for paying for the course is with the finance company. This is not good.

You can see why Barclays may have got out. Even if the course is brilliant there are still going to be a percentage of people who have bought the wrong thing. And they are caught in a trap with years of monthly payments ahead of them. So they won’t be happy bunnies and, inevitably, they will take out some of their ire against the company they are paying the money to. Barclays don’t need this flack.

And remember that these courses are targeted at the young, the weak, the vulnerable. They are for people who are under educated and want to improve themselves. These people stand no chance against a highly trained high pressure salesman. Many of them become victims, they receive nothing yet have to pay out large payments every month for years. You can read about such victims here, and here.

Don’t these people realise that there are better ways to get an education? The Open University for instance. These guys don’t use high pressure salesmen, don’t use finance companies, have world class course material, give qualifications that are universally recognised, have first class training staff, don’t demand several year’s financial commitment up front and yet only cost a fraction of what some commercial trainers charge.They even hand out financial support to lots of students!

The Open University say: “Want to get a qualification that will help you develop or change your career? Learn a subject in depth? The Open University – voted top for student satisfaction for three years running – could provide the flexibility, the qualifications and the top-class teaching you’re after. For most courses you don’t need any previous qualifications. And with our world-leading blend of supported open learning and innovative course materials, you’ll get an exceptional learning experience.”

For example here is a course that provides an introduction to computing and human-computer interaction, including gesture interfaces such as the Wii Remote. It costs just £400. And it counts towards a degree.

Finally, here is some Advent marketing blurb:

Advent Training is Different.

At Advent, we not only provide excellent IT training courses, but we also offer specialist careers advice and support to help our students get a job in IT.

We understand how the industry works and we know what employers are looking for. We constantly research IT jobs in the UK to make sure our courses are up to date, providing you with the skills you need to get a job in IT.

Support Every Step of the Way.

Our certified trainers work closely with you to monitor your progress, making sure you move forward to the next stage only once you are absolutely ready. No-one is left to fend for themselves and everyone works at their own pace.

We also give every student comprehensive study guides, practical advice on exam preparation / technique and unlimited email and phone support throughout their course.

Whats more, our unique, introductory modules provide essential background information to enable you to understand more about computer skills in the IT environment and to be able to talk with confidence at interview or in a job situation.

Advent Training’s technical expertise is recognised through Microsoft’s Certified Partner accreditation.


  1. That is exactly what it needs, some “know it all” gymgoer telling “these uneducated people” who have just been smacked in the face, that it is their own fault to be so stupid! to go for such a company in the first place! Then offering an open university course in basic Computer skills for overpriced 400 quit!! a couse you can get free at uk-online! does that well educated gymgoer, who probably pays quite a sum every month to run on a band for 20 minutes getting nowhere or cycling without any goal…not realize people who went with advent are not keen on introductions to computer skills and playing Wii, but want serious proffessional training!!! stick your comments mate….I do not think anyone needs them right now! your sensitivity must have slipped into muscle from too much overpriced gym visits! do you not know, you can get fit running in the woods for free!!

  2. I would just like to add a few points:
    1. These people are at least trying to get jobs rather than be on the dole (which would you prefer?)
    2. Advent was one of the top IT training course in Europe.
    3. Even University educated people are having a hard time finding work (btw Bill Gates didn’t graduate from college).
    4. Advent was accredited by Microsoft, can you get a better endorsement than that?

    Please do some research before you blog next time….

    Here’s your sign…

  3. I am deeply hurt by the above article.
    I was not pressured in to signing up for the course, the sales guy who visited me was very friendly and did not promise me mega salaries on completion of the course. What he told me was correct for the IT industry as i had done my research before signing up and have worked in and around IT for 10 years i just never had a piece of paper to prove what i could do and decided it was time to get some IT qualifications. I picked a course perfect for my skills and career path and will complete no without a training company for guidance and support.
    And the below statement is so far from the truth its verging on libel. I personaly paid for the course with savings and therefore have no loans to pay.
    “And remember that these courses are targeted at the young, the weak, the vulnerable. They are for people who are under educated and want to improve themselves. These people stand no chance against a highly trained high pressure salesman. Many of them become victims, they receive nothing yet have to pay out large payments every month for years. You can read about such victims here, and here.”

  4. I would like to add a few further points:

    1) Microsoft endorsements don’t mean anything sadly – There are still many IT training organisations out there who hide behind this badge and push it in their sales pitch to somehow acclaim it makes them better. It’s spin! and Microsoft are only to happy to partner with these companies as it makes them money!

    2) Job guarantees, i mean really? People are sold this false dream. No one can guarantee you success least of all a job except yourself. People often forget by raking out £6000 for a course doesnt guarantee you anything – the hard work, dedication and commitment comes from you!

    3) Skillstrain are one of the largest IT training providers in Europe – they were on watchdog for making false claims that they are Microsoft partners.

    4) Literature often given out by these large IT training companies are ‘second hand’ and are not endorsed by the vendors. Material is often written by Training companies to match the curriculum of the course and pass it out to students as ‘official vendor content’when it’s not.

    5) Many IT training companies are not cash rich, they have investors and huge business loans. So when the guys with the money pull the strings, IT training providers shrink.

    6) Many IT training providers really don’t give a damn about your future or your career. If you’re contemplating purchasing a course for 5-6k, they’d sell their mothers if they had to, to win your sale!

    7) Why are people paying ludicrous sums of money, 5-6k? for an MCSE? Computeach, Skillstrain, Advent? I paid £3.5k to study mine with PIPER IT, and there are others alike who will give you the same a lot cheaper

    8) Sad but true, people are sold courses by salesman who often have zero experience in IT themselves and have little or no knowledge of the Industry.

  5. Tell it like it is Bruce. I have been a contract c++ developer for a few years now, but before this worked in a few large organisations. In one I had to recruit some testers – they needed to have a good understanding of how things worked for reporting but not so detailed that they would automatically find work rounds. Had a few applicants from these type of training courses – few had any real understanding, and some had such limited knowledge that I wondered how they found the on button. I think its very sad that such courses are still offered to the naive and unwary and at such ridiculous prices. There is an interesting facebook page, now available, where ex-Advent students are sounding off against the company. It seems they lack any real understanding of the banks role. Also, I really wonder if they understand the present economic climate where experienced and highly educated IT pros are now swamping IT vacancies after being made redundant, and the outsourcing of IT to emerging economies.

  6. I just think this was a bit of a low blow (both Advent going bust and this article). I think people should be taken care of and that getting a job in IT or in any field here in England is a catch 22. You need a job to get experience but you need experience to get a job, how do you break the cycle?

  7. I did MCDST with Advent Computer Training about three years ago. I was not approached by any sales person; however, I was promised a job after successful completion of MCDST. After completing two A+ courses, MCP and MCDST in two months, requested Advent to arrange a job interview. They were aggressive at that stage and said that job market was very tough. I managed to find a job within three months and did not bother Advent after that. I also cancelled my MCSE course with them at that stage. After a lot of pressure, they returned £ 3,500 out of £ 5000 paid in total.

  8. I was with advent and i have payed £6500 for a cours and i an realy not happy at all now i am stuck and i can not do any more at all. ALL THAT MONY WAS FOR NOTHING AND I AM NOT GOING TO GET IT BACK.

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