From education to employment


The City & Guilds Group has today (15 May) announced the acquisition of leading training provider Gen2 based in Cumbria.

Established in 2000 by five partner companies, Gen2 is the largest training provider to the UK civil nuclear industry, working with over 250 employers – including the likes of Sellafield Ltd, Iggesund, and British Steel – across its six sites in Cumbria. Today, Gen2 has over 1300 apprentices and 250 students on higher education programmes.

The acquisition expands the City & Guilds Group’s remit in technical and skills development, and strengthens its offer in STEM-related industries, which are often hampered by skills gaps. It also further expands the Group’s move into training delivery – a service it originally offered when it was first established in 1878, and which has continued to grow since the Group’s acquisition of The Oxford Group in 2015.

Following the acquisition, Gen2, in partnership with other industry bodies, will explore becoming one of the first Government-backed Institutes of Technology – plans for which were outlined in the Government’s Industrial Strategy in January 2017.

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group said: ‘Technical skills delivery is a core part of our heritage, and we are excited to expand our offer by bringing Gen2 into the Group. Our organisations share a clear purpose – changing people’s lives through skills development. The engineering and nuclear industry is anticipated to grow extensively in the future, particularly in Cumbria, but it cannot grow unless it has a skilled workforce. Gen2, as a City & Guilds Group business – and potentially as a new Institute of Technology – will be at the heart of ensuring the industry can thrive in the future.’

Mike Smith, OBE, CEO of Gen2 said: ‘Gen2’s acquisition by the City & Guilds Group is testament and acknowledgment of the high-quality, sector-leading technical training and education capability that the company has developed since it was established in 2000. Being part of a wider, larger group will enable Gen2 to continue its growth trajectory and, working with the other companies within the City & Guilds Group, we hope to be able to offer our customers and their learners the best training and education to meet their future needs.’

Lesley Bowen, People Transformation Lead at Sellafield Ltd and Independent Director on Gen2’s board, said: ‘This is fantastic news for Gen2 and great news for West Cumbria. The sale to the City & Guilds Group not only results in securing the company’s long-term future, but also enables Gen2 to sustainably grow further, supporting not only our training needs, but those of the wider energy and advanced manufacturing employer base both locally and nationally, which further underpins our drive to establish West Cumbria as the Centre of Nuclear Excellence. Over the years Gen2 has established an unrivalled reputation for the quality of its training and education. It has proved to be one of the most successful examples of a ‘spin-out’ company, having grown from an initial 21 staff and 71 apprentices in 2000, to over 160 staff and more than 1,300 apprentices currently learning with the organisation.’

Jonny Lowe, Head of HR at Iggesund Paperboard and the former Iggesund Member Director on Gen2’s board said: ‘Iggesund has supported Gen2 since it was established in 2000. Gen2 has grown over the years into a highly respected leader in technical training and education, and has provided us and other local employers with a steady flow of highly qualified and competent engineers through its apprenticeship programmes. We believe that the City & Guilds Group is an excellent fit to ensure Gen2 can continue from strength to strength, building on the excellent work the employees have done to make the company what it is today.’

About the City & Guilds Group: The City & Guilds Group is a global leader in skills development. Its purpose is to enable people, economies and organisations to develop their skills for growth. Backed by a Royal Charter, the City & Guilds Group has more than 135 years’ experience in making sure that people are prepared to contribute to successful businesses and thriving economies.

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