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BlogPalatine exits first impact investment with sale of adult learning provider to...

Palatine exits first impact investment with sale of adult learning provider to City & Guilds

Palatine has successfully exited its investment in Trade Skills 4U, the market-leading provider of electrician training schemes, with the sale of the business to City & Guilds.

Palatine backed Trade Skills 4U in 2017 as the first investment from its Impact Fund which was established to invest in commercially driven businesses with a mission to positively impact on society or the environment. Since then, it has supported the business to open two new training centres in Leeds and Coventry, appoint a new chairman and financial director and improve the digital infrastructure.

The growth has led to an increase in the business’ impact, with the number of students completing career changer courses each year having more than doubled since 2017. Resulting in thousands of students having their career prospects positively impacted over the period of Palatine’s investment.

Trade Skills 4U was founded by CEO Carl Bennett in 2005 and focuses on the adult training market. It provides a range of electrical courses for individuals who have little or no electrical knowledge and those already in the profession who are looking to enhance their skills. Key to its mission is lowering the barrier to entry for adults seeking new career opportunities such as people who have left the military.

During the last five years, Palatine has also supported the development and introduction of NVQ and apprenticeship programmes, making the company’s training relevant to an increased number of students. Supporting people of all ages to train and retrain in skills that leads to jobs aligns exceptionally well with City & Guilds’ purpose, making City & Guilds the natural home for the next stage of Trade Skills 4U’s growth journey.

City & Guilds is a Royal Chartered Institute and a registered charity with a mission to provide the opportunity for people to retrain and relearn, gaining new skills at every stage of life, regardless of where they start.

Matt Coles, Impact Fund Investment Director at Palatine, said: “As our first ever Impact investment we are incredibly proud of all we have achieved with Carl and the Trade Skills 4U team over the last five years. Together we have grown an exceptional business which is having a clear impact on addressing skills shortages and improving social mobility in the UK.

“City & Guilds represents a natural home for Trade Skills 4U to continue to grow its scale and impact and we look forward to following the business’ future journey.”

Carl Bennett, Founder and CEO of Trade Skills 4U, said: “Over the last five years it has been a pleasure to work with the Impact team at Palatine with whom we’ve shared a learner-centric approach to growth, always prioritising the outcomes we can deliver. Their support and commitment has made this a rewarding and enjoyable journey.

“Joining City & Guilds is a natural progression for our company and team, as we work to continue to cement our position as the UK’s leading provider of electrical skills training to individuals and businesses.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Chief Executive of City & Guilds said: “Trade Skills 4U is joining the City & Guilds community at a critical time as the UK grapples with severe skills shortages. Trade Skills 4U prides itself on inclusivity and removing barriers to work, ensuring individuals from all walks of life can access high quality skills training that leads to meaningful careers. This perfectly aligns to our City & Guilds purpose of helping people into jobs and by championing this together we can ensure that we are further providing opportunities and the skills needed to succeed.”

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