when he went for the interview they gave him a talk about how essential IT certification was to the industry in an attempt to persuade him to part with over £1,000 for an ECDL. When I explained that I had heard of their company and was aware of what they do the lady on the phone tried a different approach, trying to persuade me to enrol on their "Complete Learning Programme", which is the ECDL, A+, N+, MCSE and CCNA at a cost, after applying a lot of pressure on her to find out, of £8,000 (just over $15,000 USD).
I admit, I don't know about hiring practices in the UK or EU, but it seems rather odd to me that someone would contact you on the basis of your CV, but then suggest that you get some extra certification, at your expense.
I'm guessing that they also don't want to hire you until after the certification is complete, and they haven't given you any sort of documentation that would assure you of a job with them should you successfully complete the class. As they are the ones offering the certification, I would think that their cost of the class would be negligible for you to fill an empty seat in a non-full class. (I took a few Oracle classes for US$40, because I worked for the university that was offering the classes ... sure, I spent a few months when their incompetant record keeping resulted in them telling a collections agency that I owed US$3k, but it got cleared up, after much annoyance).
If they really wanted to hire you, they'd bring you on at a reduced rate, and pay you while you were taking classes, and they'd pay for the classes.
What would I do in this situation? I'd report them to whatever sort of fraud-reporting organizations you might have available, for potentially deceptive selling practices. If you want to take the classes -- you might want to contact a lawyer -- it's possible that you might be able to get some way to take the class, and then reclaim the money for the certification if they do what I think they are planning. (of course, would you want to have a certification from a company that might do such a thing? I know I wouldn't)
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