The Institute of IT Training is reeling from industry criticism andails of direction shift. has been forced into changing direction after its management style was denounced as autocratic and it was said to have to prove itself.
The Institute recently faced key staff leaving, and top training companies have told PC Dealer of their frustration in the way it is run.
Blame was levelled directly at chief executive Nick Mitchell. One former staff member commented: 'He has a management style that is autocratic, which is ironic in an organisation that preaches self-empowerment.'
Ron Ohm, managing director of Parity Training and a founding sponsor of the Institute, claimed that after 30 months, 'from our perspective, it's yet to prove itself.'
Hugh Simpson-Wells, also a founding sponsor and managing director of training firm Aris Oxford, said: 'I've been fairly unimpressed to be honest and fallen out with Nick Mitchell.'
He added that their position sitting in on the occasional Institute meetings had little point because they felt ignored.
The Institute was set up in 1995 after Mitchell gathered #10,000 each from 10 companies to set up a non-profit organisation to raise standards in training.
The Institute was pitched in a charitable format - aiming to 'heighten the professionalism of all who work in an IT training role' - to those who fronted cash in November 1995.
But Mitchell set it up as a limited company and placed the shares and sole directorship in his own name. In an earlier interview with PC Dealer, he tried to justify the move: 'If you set it up as a charity you lose control to a body with no financial interest.'
Institute House is also the registered office for other Mitchell-run and owned companies including Select Software Distributors, which went into liquidation owing #150,000 four weeks ago.
Former staff member Alan Ballinger said: 'The concept of an institute is a good idea and should succeed if it is providing a good service to its members.'
Mitchell said a change in direction for the institute would please members, but refused to publicise any changes except in IT Training, the magazine he sold in April for #500,000 and with which he still has ties.
When PC Dealer contacted Mitchell, he said: 'If you won't co-operate with me, I won't co-operate with you' and hung up the telephone.
In a letter to PC Dealer he wrote: 'When the IITT becomes financially self-supporting, I have no objection in principal to it becoming a charitable organisation limited by guarantee. As I have said, this was and is impractical at this stage.'
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