Itec Training Solutions Ltd. put theory into practice to become Wales’ biggest employee-owned training provider
Itec Training Solutions co-owner, Steve Doyle, answers questions about the ethos behind and the process of becoming Wales’ largest employee-owned training provider.
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How did Itec Training Solutions Ltd. come about?
Itec Training Solutions Ltd. was formed in 2007 as a successor to Cardiff Itec which was established in 1982. The three original shareholders were myself Ceri Murphy and Stephen Brangwyn. We bought Mr Brangwyn out in 2011 and have owned the business between us since then. We have grown the business from £2 million turnover in 2007 to group turnover £14.3 million in 2018. Staff numbers from 35 in 2007 to 140 in 2019.
For the last 20 years the company has delivered Welsh Government Work Based Learning Programme which includes the delivery of Apprenticeships, Youth Traineeships and Adult Employability programmes.
Our current Welsh Government Contract is £13m per annum and we’re hoping the relationship will continue well into the future.
Itec Training Solutions Holdings Ltd was created in 2011 to facilitate growth by acquisition, followed by the acquisition of the Centre for Strategy & Communication Ltd in 2015. The Centre is based in London and delivers commercial training and we have just started delivering Apprenticeships in England.
What changes have you noticed since becoming employee-owned, particularly in the staff?
It is very early days having only been announced at the end of January but it has been received very positively.
Have there been any challenges in the process of becoming employee-owned?
There have been no real challenges in the process. The real challenge was finding a suitable succession/sustainability plan for the business. We had considered selling and had received a number of offers over the last few years but that did not sit comfortably with myself and Ceri. Having built the business to where it was we did not want it to become part of just another large corporate or college. We were made aware of the employee-ownership model and this made so much sense to us. It gave us the opportunity to maintain the independence whilst continuing to grow the brand.
Have you considered using social enterprises in your supply chain?
Our supply chain is already diverse, including owner managed SMEs, charities and third sector organisations. We would certainly consider social enterprises.
Has employee ownership changed the way training is delivered?
It’s still early days but I don’t expect it to change the way training is delivered but I do expect it to improve efficiency and facilitate further growth by being able to attract high calibre staff by offering them what no other training company currently offers.
What are your hopes for the future of Itec as an employee-owned business?
Continued growth. As a provider to the Welsh Government for over 20 years we hope that we will continue to be a valued partner to the WG for the foreseeable future. We also see considerable scope for growth in England. As a Skills Funding Agency (SFA) approved provider we have just started to deliver apprenticeships in England. We fully expect to be able to achieve £5million annual turnover in three years. A lot of the staff supporting this growth will be employed in Cardiff. We have a very loyal and highly motivated team who we hope will see real benefit from employee-ownership.
What advice would you give to any other companies considering employee ownership?
Give it serious consideration. It may not be the solution for everyone but if you have a strong team who can help take the business forward, it is a great vehicle.
For more information on employee ownership, please contact the Social Business Wales team
03000 6 03000
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