FEARS have been raised high levels of youth unemployment will continue when it was confirmed three training centres will close.

TBG Learning is to its shut branches in Colchester, Clacton and Witham in March after its funding was cut.

The centres help jobseekers, and particularly youngsters, get qualifications and find work.

One in five unemployed people in Colchester are aged 18 to 25, and the figure is even higher in Tendring at one in three.

Stephen Mayzes, councillor responsible for education at Tendring Council, said: “A centre like this is so important to a town like Clacton which has so much youth unemployment “TBG Learning was a vital first step for youngsters who were trying to get into work.

“Youngster on a downward spiral were able to get qualifications and move on to higher education or get into work.”

The centre has been earmarked for closure because the group’s contract with the Education Funding Agency has ended.

Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell said: “It is sad when any company or organisation closes and people lose their jobs.

“I shall be making it my business to find out exactly what the situation is.

“I am hoping if it is a case of TBG not having a contract renewed it means that someone else will be filling the breach. I do hope so.”

TBG Learning, which has 15 sites across the country, refused to say how many jobs were going to be lost at the centres in Southway, Colchester; Carnarvon Road, Clacton and Braintree Road, Witham.

A spokesman for the not-forprofit company said all students studying at the centre would have the chance to complete their courses prior to the closure.

He said staff were being supported through employment workshops to help them get jobs elsewhere.

The Clacton branch runs a variety of courses, including construction, hair and beauty, hospitality and catering.

Natalie Flynn, who studied at TGB Learning for three years, said: “It really helped me with my confidence and I passed my NVQ 2 in business administration.

“I went on to get a job, with help fromamember of staff, and stayed in that job for three years.

“It gave me the boost and kick up the bum I needed.”

Darren Shaw, who studied a computer course at the centre, said: “I’m not sure where I’d be today without them."