Spalding leisure group head defends its record from TV report’s claims

Matt Clark, director of Activ Group, has defended his company's record on apprentices from claims made in a Channel Four Dispatches documentary.  Photo by David Dawson.
Matt Clark, director of Activ Group, has defended his company's record on apprentices from claims made in a Channel Four Dispatches documentary. Photo by David Dawson.
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The head of a Spalding-based leisure firm has strongly defended its record on apprenticeships after claims made as part of a Channel Four investigation.

Matt Clark, head of Activ Group which owns Loaded Nightclub and Alleycatz in Spalding, said he was “hurt and upset” by the accusations from two ex-apprenctices on the Dispatches programme about their time working for Activ Staffing and Support last year.

We are as proud of the achievers who have entered into senior positions with us as we are of those who departed after completion to successfully advance their careers in other organisations.

Matt Clark, company director of ActivGroup

The programme, broadcast last Monday, included interviews with Amber Askew and Daisy Cushion who both complained about the quality of training they had received and their level of pay they received.

But Mr Clark said: “We were hurt by the claims made by two former apprentices on a (Channel Four Dispatches) show aired on Monday evening.

“The claims surprised us, especially as the experiences described on the show were very different from the feedback given to us in appraisals during the time of their employment and, furthermore, in the thank you notes sent to managers and team upon leaving the company.

“We are upset that the producers of the show chose to include these interviews, despite accepting that there were substantial factual inaccuracies. “It is disappointing that the show chose not to report on some of the many success stories that the scheme has delivered in recent years and whilst our company director offered to respond to the claims in a filmed interview, this offer was rejected.

“We are hopeful that the airing of this unbalanced report will not discourage new talent from taking advantage of exciting and varied opportunities to learn and develop through an apprenticeship scheme, whether that be with our team or in other companies.”

The programme did mention Activ’s success in gaining an Investors in People Award, its policy of not taking on more than four apprentices at any one time and its commitment to enrolling its apprentices on “recognised training programmes”.

Mr Clark said: “Our company offers significant value to apprentices and we are pleased that every apprentice who has successfully completed a qualification with us has been offered a permanent role with the company.

“We are as proud of the achievers who have entered into senior positions with us as we are of those who departed after completion to successfully advance their careers in other organisations.

“Despite this disheartening story, we remain passionate about the apprenticeship scheme which builds confidence in and financially rewards the apprentice, as opposed to accruing significant personal debt in pursuing traditional university and college options.”