Shard Credit Partners Provides Loan Funding to Support NAC Group MBO

NAC Group incorporating independent training provider NA College aims to expand its industry-focused professional education following a management buyout (MBO), which was backed by loan funding from Shard Credit Partners.

The provision of loan funding from Shard Credit Partners also represents its growing support for the education sector with this latest investment aimed at providing greater opportunities for young people to pursue careers in the engineering and automotive sectors.

Founded by Paul and Wendy Robson, the Washington-based training company offers a suite of courses ranging from academic engagement activities to highly respected apprenticeships and post-19 skills programs.

Originally created to support apprenticeships and skills development for the advanced automotive manufacturing sector, NA College now works with a wide range of employers with professional training in areas such as business improvement, lean manufacturing, engineering, supply chain, warehousing and management.

Beginning in 2020, NA College also partnered with the North East Institute of Technology (IoT), a collaboration between colleges of education, universities, and major employers to strengthen the provision of higher technical education in the region. . The IoT training offering is designed to meet employers’ emerging demand for skills in the areas of digital, electrification and sustainability and business improvement to train future leaders to support the transition to a Net-zero economy.

Currently holding an Ofsted ‘Good’ rating, NA College also works in partnership with New College Durham, South Tyneside Council, Sunderland College and provides services through the Department of Education (DfE).

The MBO was led by four members of the college’s leadership team, Lisa Snaith, who took on the role of Chief Financial and Executive Officer, Margherita Pasquariello, Chief Strategy and Executive Officer, Steve Pallas, Director of Operations, and Lindsey Vickerson, Head of HR and ESG. Paul Robson will remain with the company as president.

Corporate finance advice was provided to management and Shard Credit Partners by Newcastle-based RG Corporate Finance, led by partner and head of corporate finance Carl Swansbury, CF director Rhiannon Nightingale and CF Senior Manager Connor McBride.

Legal advice for Shard Credit Partners was provided by Andrew Madden, Alison Davidson-Cox and Andrew Cowan of Gateley Plc, while the management team was advised by Paul Christian, Imogen Holland and Nicole Axon of Ward Hadaway. Financial due diligence was undertaken on behalf of Shard Credit Partners by RMT, led by Michael Cantwell and Ayden De Beer.

Paul and Wendy Robson received corporate finance advice from TIG Corporate Finance, led by Barry Gill, with legal advice from Mark Lazenby, a partner at commercial law firm Square One Law.

Lisa Snaith said: “The demand for high quality skills training is growing, both from young people who recognize apprenticeship as a valuable route to a career, and from employers who use our training to improve productivity and stay competitive.

“NA College has built an excellent reputation in the manufacturing and engineering markets, particularly automotive, and we are very proud to be able to build on the company’s outstanding accomplishments under the leadership of Paul and Wendy as owners of the business, working closely with Shard Credit Partners.

Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners, said:

“For the economy to succeed, it is essential that the UK closes the skills gaps that exist in key industries with the support of high quality training providers such as NA College.

“We are also delighted to support, which is unfortunately still quite rare, a buy-out management team mainly led by women. With our financial support, we strongly hope that the college will improve its offer of courses and training opportunities to meet changing business needs.

Carl Swansbury, Partner and Head of Corporate Finance at RG Corporate Finance, said:

“Shard Credit Partners has identified the opportunity to support the new principals in their ambitions for the college to play a greater role in vocational training in the North East. Private training providers such as NA College are a key contributor to meeting the skills needs of the UK and in particular of critical industries such as advanced manufacturing. We look forward to seeing the leadership team and Shard continue to grow and develop NA College in the months and years to come.

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