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A Merseyside chamber of commerce, which is also a training provider and employer representative body, has suddenly gone bust, leaving more than 200 apprentices in limbo, and a local skills improvement plan up in the air.

St Helen’s Chamber, which is also an independent training provider, called in administrators this afternoon amid a “perfect storm” of government funding cuts, losses from its skills business, and a “nationwide fall in office values”.

The chamber was named the designated employer representative body for the Liverpool City Region in 2022, charged with developing the city region’s statutory local skills improvement plan (LSIP).

Around 260 apprentices and 30 study programme students have been told to await further information about their next steps, while most of the chamber’s 70 staff have been made redundant.

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