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September 2020

Agilitas-backed Learning Curve Group announces acquisition of Acorn Training Consultants

Agilitas, the pan-European mid-market private equity firm, is pleased to announce that its portfolio company, Learning Curve Group (“LCG”), a leading UK training and education specialist, has acquired Acorn Training Consultants (“Acorn”), a provider of professional training for young people.

Acorn is headquartered in Ripley, Derbyshire, and helps young people across the UK develop their skills and reach their full potential through a range of study programmes and traineeships. It also provides a variety of employment support programmes for people aged 19-65. Acorn works at the heart of its local communities throughout Derbyshire, Derby City, Nottingham and the East Midlands.

The acquisition of Acorn is part of LCG’s transformation plan to grow the company across all areas of its provision, which was developed when Agilitas backed the company in March 2020 in order to support the business in its next stage of development. Acorn will help LCG continue to achieve its purpose of improving learners’ employability and economic well-being through practical education, by reinforcing its employability offering and expanding its geographic coverage to reach an even greater number of learners across the UK.

The announcement follows LCG’s appointment of William Macpherson, an award-winning education industry veteran and former CEO of QA, as its new Chairperson in September 2020.

Brenda McLeish, CEO at Learning Curve Group, said: “We are delighted that Acorn will become part of LCG as we continue to grow as one of the UK’s biggest training providers. The acquisition represents a perfect fit as both organisations share similar learner-centred values, and it presents new, exciting opportunities to our learners and employer partners by adding to our combined breadth of provision. With youth unemployment being at an all-time high due to the impact of COVID-19, this acquisition will allow us to support even more young people into work. I’m excited by the opportunities ahead and look forward to welcoming our new learners to the LCG family.”

Liam Goddard of Agilitas said: “Acorn fits well with LCG not just because it reinforces the group’s offering and ability to reach learners, but also because Acorn shares LCG's vision to transform lives through learning. The acquisition of Acorn will help LCG’s ambitious growth plans, while also boosting the positive impact the group has on people and employers across the UK both during these challenging times and beyond.”

Martin Calderbank, Managing Partner of Agilitas, said: “When Agilitas backed LCG, we saw a company with a strong societal purpose and remarkable growth potential, and with numerous avenues of opportunity to bring its high-quality practical education to more people across the UK. We are pleased that the acquisition of Acorn will help accelerate the good progress that LCG has already made to date in its ongoing transformation.”

LCG, which was founded in 2004, is based in Durham and provides life-changing opportunities for over 160,000 learners and 4,500 employers per year to help upskill both new and existing staff, enabling individuals to develop new skills in order to enter employment or advance their careers. The company – which has received ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ OFSTED ratings for its business divisions – works across the country with a range of businesses, individuals and further education colleges, offering a diverse range of over 150 courses in a variety of sectors including Health & Social Care, Education, Business and IT, Hair & Beauty and Fitness.

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