Our investment in Lifetime Training was based on a change in UK legislation that we believed would lead to a surge in demand for apprenticeship training among Lifetime’s core customer base.
Founded in 1995, Lifetime was one of the UK’s leading training providers, offering high-quality apprenticeships, recruitment services, self-funded training courses and bespoke training courses across a range of sectors. Its clients were employers of all sizes in the public and private sectors.
In 2015, then Chancellor George Osborne announced that there would be a significant change to apprenticeship funding in the UK from summer 2016. The government was going to place a levy on companies with a wage bill of more than £3m which could be used exclusively to fund apprenticeship training. We assessed this proposal as a positive regulatory change that would benefit the largest and best run independent training providers and set about seeking the right investment opportunity.
Our team searched for the right business for our fund and bought Lifetime in October 2016. The thesis was to work with the management team to ride through the regulatory change, invest heavily in technology, software and new business development and use the Company’s scale to capture significant market share.
We have grown Lifetime from 700 employees to 1,200 in 3 years, developed a new education curriculum and content and acquired a market leading piece of software. These actions have enabled the Company to win over 240 new and large clients including supermarket giant Tesco, hotels operator Premier Inn, coffee chain Costa, and pub chain JD Wetherspoon.
Lifetime doesn’t just deliver training courses; it has an awarding capability allowing it to assess individuals and award qualifications, maximising its revenue.
We continue to search for add-on acquisition opportunities in adjacent markets and are excited about the growth to come from winning new clients as well as delivering further training with our existing clients.
Silverfleet and Lifetime have enormously benefited from our conviction that the new legislation would radically change the market for apprenticeships - and our belief that Lifetime would emerge as the winner in the new landscape. Our long experience in the services sector and expertise in organic and buy-and-build growth set us apart from our competitors and made us the ideal partner for Lifetime.
85% success rate
on tenders for new national employers
trained a year