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Advanced acquisitions show clear commitment to helping UK Government close the skills gap
Merger and Acquisition //18-05-2021

Advanced acquisitions show clear commitment to helping UK Government close the skills gap

by Gordon Wilson, Chairman, OneAdvanced

Acquisition of bksb and Smart Apprentices expands its skills development solutions for education providers

This week, it welcomes Smart Apprentices to the Advanced family, the market leader in apprenticeship learning technology, providing a cloud-based portfolio of recruitment, administration, compliance, virtual learning and point assessment software to both education providers delivering apprenticeships in the classroom and employers in the workplace. In addition, earlier this month, it signed a deal with bksb, the leading provider of cloud-based eLearning for essential GCSE Maths and English and Functional Skills qualifications in English, Maths and Digital (ICT).

These acquisitions demonstrate Advanced’s commitment to the skills development sector in line with the Government’s plans to give education and training an overhaul post Covid-19. Measures revealed in the Queen’s Speech last week include a Skills and Education Bill which will legislate that training providers and colleges must align the courses they offer to local employers’ needs.

“These are two very strategic acquisitions for Advanced,” comments Gordon Wilson, CEO of Advanced. “They open up opportunities to expand our already leading position in the Further Education market to also take a strong position in both the Private Training Provider and Apprenticeship market, at a time where skills development, education and learning in this country is being given a much-needed renewed focus.

The UK has the highest percentage of underqualified workers among the 37 countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Upskilling the workforce with essential Maths, English and vocational training has been recognised by both the Government and employers in increasing productivity and profitability, with technology playing a vital role in its delivery.”

Founded in 2010, Smart Apprentices has developed a leading position in the recruitment, management and assessment of workplace apprentices across both workplace and classroom learning. bksb was established over 20-years ago with thousands of training providers and millions of learners around the world having benefited from their skills solutions.  These acquisitions will further strengthen Advanced’s position in the further education, skills and learning sector which will prove to be critical as the UK undergoes one of the largest reforms of skills and education as it emerges from the pandemic.

Founder of Smart Apprentices, Fiona Hudson-Kelly, comments: “This acquisition represents a hugely exciting chapter in our company’s development. There is enormous synergy between Advanced and Smart Apprentices and we see a huge opportunity to capitalise on the renewed focus we’re seeing on vocational learning.  Over the past 12 months, businesses and entrepreneurs have had to be extremely agile in pivoting their organisations in order to thrive. In response to this, we are seeing the need for a new approach to learning and skills development and a convergence between employers, the workplace and the classroom.” 

Advanced’s acquisition of Smart Apprentices and bksb comes just two months after the acquisition of The National Will Register and seven months after its acquisition of Clear Review and Mitrefinch. Advanced has made seven transactions since the firm received an investment from funds advised by BC Partners and Vista Equity Partners to accelerate its growth in October 2019.

Merger and Acquisition Education Further Education Training Providers
Gordon Wilson

Gordon Wilson


Chairman, OneAdvanced

Having joined the company in September 2015 with a track record in leading business growth, Gordon has since driven the successful transformation of OneAdvanced. In 2023, Gordon stepped down as CEO to become our new Chairman.

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