THE shock closure of a Reading college for climate change inspectors has left hundreds of students with their future in tatters and thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Staff arriving for work at the Energy Assessor College in Davidson House, Forbury Square, last Thursday were told to clear their desks because parent company Best Colleges Ltd had gone into administration.

The college, which had 600 students on its books, including those at sister regional centres in Manchester and Birmingham, taught courses in domestic, commercial or multi-skilled energy assessment involving heat loss or CO2 emissions from buildings.

The qualifications, which were accredited by the Awarding Body for the Built Environment (ABBE) allowed recruits to carry out energy efficiency assessments on newly built houses and businesses as required by European Union law.

Many students, who have paid up to £3,900 in fees are desperately trying to reclaim money for outstanding exams and assessments.

A course tutor, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "We were told on Thursday that the college had gone into administration and it would be best if we pack up our things and leave the building.

"Since then we have had no correspondence from either the college or the administrators, and have not received our last month's salary."

He added: "I am obviously angry at the way we were all treated and the lack of any notice that this was coming. The students have paid a great deal of money for their courses and many of them are now left with nothing and little chance of recovering their fees."

Student Louise Calam, 23, from Tring, Hertfordshire, signed up for the nine-month Domestic Energy Assessor course last summer to boost her job as a self-employed inventory clerk and had been commuting to Reading more than twice a week.

She said: "It's frustrating. We don't know what's going on. We've been hearing everything third hand. They haven't even emailed us directly. It's disgraceful and there's no-one there to talk to. I feel conned."

When the Chronicle went to Davidson House on Tuesday, a security guard confirmed Best Colleges Ltd had vacated the building and advised us to contact the insolvency administrators FA Simms & Partners Ltd.

But a case manager at the insolvency practice said: "I can't comment as we haven't been appointed yet."