Motor industry apprenticeships, the Premier League football academy system, training in catering and manufacturing – the Carter & Carter Group are responsible for a large slice of work-based learning services in the UK. Now it looks as though its range of sectors could increase still further with its recent bid for BPP Holdings ““ providers of white-collar learning such as accountancy and law.
Carter & Carter has grown rapidly since its role in providing training programmes to car manufacturers in the 1990s. The past eighteen months have seen several acquisitions of smaller rival companies, starting with ASSA, a vocational learning provider, in September 2005. This was followed in 2006 by the acquisition of the Fern Group who provided training for the unemployed under the Jobcentres “New Deal” programme and ReMIT, one of the largest apprentice training providers in the motor industry. In December Carter & Carter rounded off the year with the acquisition of three further companies as the group aimed to establish its market position and broaden its geographical remit.
This comes at a time when the Government is looking to outsource more college work, making it likely that Carter & Carter, along with VT, another major player in the field, will continue to grow from strength to strength. While Carter & Carter currently employs around 1700 people, CEO Philip Carter has said that over the next three years he forsees that increasing to 3500.
The company are at the forefront of the Government’s Train to Gain programme, being the largest provider in the London area. They also deliver on a number of other Government funded initiatives such as learndirect. Nevertheless they continue to have a relatively large percentage of private funding; some 32% of their revenue comes from private funding. This is largely due to their background in the vehicle manufacturing industry where they manage 21 of the country’s vehicle manufacturers” apprenticeships.
Whilst this growth is good news for the company’s investors, it remains to be seen what the growth in corporate providers entails for the FE sector as a whole. Colleges may find themselves struggling to compete against competitive tendering from such companies. The most important question is how it will impact on the learners themselves, in the range of training that they receive. Will it mean less choice for them, or will Carter & Carter be able to build on their experience and best practice to provide comprehensive learning programmes in a range of sectors across the board?
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