About 4 years ago, my employer created a Head of Department role and solicited internal applications.  The job description fitted my experience almost exactly as though it had been written with me in mind (it wanted external experience of a certain type which only I had and a specific scientific higher degree in the subject which I had).   Three people within the department applied and the job was given to my colleague who had none of the external experience nor has a higher degree in any subject although he had managed people before.  The reason given was my lack of line-management experience and it was suggested that I should do an MBA.  I considered this at the time as a ‘sweetener’ for not being promoted and it seemed a sensible suggestion to help fill my skillgap.   The company also gave me 2 staff to manage at the same time. It was also verbally pointed out that the fees overall were not hugely more expensive that our per-capita training budget (£2000/person/annum).

I did, however, have to sign a training fees contract saying that I would be liable for repayment should I leave the company before completion or within 2 years of completion.  I do know that the money (paid to the OU) came out of our internal training budget.

I have just resigned with 6 months of the course to go and the company want me to repay the full £12,000.

I have several issues:

Is there anything I can do?   Is the fact that they failed to promote me and then offered the MBA (was not my suggestion) to help fill missing expertise of any consequence?   Does the fact the fees were assigned to the training budget mean anything?  Does the fact that the company now has 100% new ownership mean anything?

Any help would be very welcome.



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