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QA - The Assignment Report UK Education Industry Company of the Year 2019

publication date: Dec 31, 2019

QA, the digital education and skills provider with services spanning corporate learning to vocational and higher education, is The Assignment Report’s UK Education Industry Company of the Year 2019.

2019 was another year of growth for QA. For the financial year ended 31 May 2019, QA reported double digit growth with revenue increasing 10% to £279.6m and EBITDA growing 10% to £67.5m – the 11th successive year of both revenue and EBITDA growth. The company served around 270,000 learners and employed over 2,000 full-time staff.

2019 was also a year of transition for QA, with the retirement in September of William Macpherson as CEO after 11 years in the post. His successor, Paul Geddes, was formerly CEO of the insurance company Direct Line Group, where he led the company’s IPO.

QA addresses the UK’s well-publicised skills shortage by equipping learners with the skills that they need, particularly in the technical and business sectors. During the last 18 months, QA’s model and services have evolved to move beyond developing talent to also help organisations attract and retain it as well through ‘recruit-to-train’ programmes.

QA’s core activity is the provision of training services to over 5,000 clients – accounting for around 60% of group revenue in FY19. The company offers courses in technical IT, project management, IT service management, business systems development, business applications, leadership, management and business skills training, along with specialist areas such as cyber security. Training takes place across the company’s 20 learning centres throughout the UK and by using online- and blended-learning, and other increasingly innovative approaches to eLearning.

In June 2019, QA acquired, Cloud Academy, the US-based enterprise technology training platform specializing in Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform online learning, for £14.1m. The acquisition has enabled QA to combine its catalogue of over 1,250 courses and certification tracks with a leading digital training platform, enabling the company to offer its corporate training clients a blended solution comprising classroom and online components.

In vocational education, QA works with employers throughout the UK to provide apprenticeship programmes leading to technical and business skills qualifications. And in higher education the company offers through its university partnerships industry-focused IT and business courses, ranging from foundation programmes through to post graduate degrees, that focus on developing key employability skills.

The company also offers clients consulting services where QA recruits predominantly university graduates who then undergo a training programme at QA’s academy to develop their skills in in-demand technologies. After graduating from the academy, they are deployed to work within the IT teams of public and private sector organisations to support complex projects and provide solutions to business problems.

QA was acquired by CVC Capital Partners, alongside QA’s management team and employees, from Bregal Capital in June 2017. Although the financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, the FT reported a purchase price of £700m.

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