Instep targets national growth following Management Buyout

Instep, the North West-based commercial and apprenticeship training provider, will accelerate the strategic expansion of its services across the UK and internationally following a management buyout (MBO).

Delivering specialist training to large corporates, such as, Vodafone and ASOS, the business has experienced exponential growth having broadened its offering two years ago to additionally provide apprenticeship training.

Its senior management team comprising of CEO Andy Murphy and Corporate Services Director Leanne Gagic have acquired equity in the business, alongside private equity house ScaleUp Capital, to increase the growth trajectory of the business.

London-based Scaleup Capital focuses on supporting growing SMEs, particularly those with turnover of up to £10m to help them increase revenues to up to £50m in a four-to-eight-year period.

The senior management team and ScaleUp Capital will join Peter and Suzanne Hitchen, who founded Instep in 1992, as shareholders of the company. 

The senior management team have built careers in apprenticeship training and have been instrumental in the growth of the business, supporting a large group of companies that can access the Apprenticeship Levy to support their future workforce development strategies.

With its current group, along with learners scheduled to begin apprenticeships in the coming months, Instep will support the training of around 2,000 apprentices this year.

This has helped the business, which employs 52 colleagues, achieve consistent financial growth.

As a result of the MBO, Andy will lead the senior management team as CEO, which has also welcomed Julie Trimble as Finance Director, Angie Brothers as Operations Director and Ringo Sandhu as Performance Director.

Also joining the business is new Chairman Richard Martin. With experience of working with high-growth private equity backed businesses, Richard will work closely with the founders and senior management team in the delivery of their scale-up strategy.

Advising both the founders and the senior management team was Newcastle-based RG Corporate Finance (RGCF) led by Partner and Head of Corporate Finance, Carl Swansbury, CF Senior Manager Rhiannon Nightingale, CF Manager Connor McBride and CF Assistant, Ben Kain. Tax advice was provided by RG Business Tax Director Simon Hopwood and Business Tax Partner Simon Whiteside.

Legal advice to the founders was provided by Anna McGill Partner at Keystone Law with the senior management team receiving legal advice from Rick Life, Partner at TLT Law.

Scaleup Capital received legal advice from Jonathan Ross, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs with financial due diligence and tax due diligence undertaken by Mazars led by Partner Stephen Miller and Associate Director James Palmer.

Andy Murphy, CEO of Instep said: “We are confident that we can build on the success we have achieved so far at Instep, increasing the scope and coverage of the commercial and apprenticeship training services we provide to UK companies.  This is an exciting time for the training sector as business and industry evolves in the current climate.  It is presenting new opportunities through government funding streams in areas such as adult education, which we are keen to support and help people gain the skills they need for sustainable careers.”

Suzanne Hitchen, Instep Co-Founder, said: “The contribution made by Andy and the team to the range and quality of the training provision we offer has been invaluable in achieving our continued growth.  Peter and I are delighted they are joining us as shareholders and look forward to continuing to work closely with them, alongside ScaleUp Capital and our new Chairman, to support the skills development of more companies and individuals across the country.”

Richard Martin, Instep Chairman, said: “Scaleup Capital is keen to work with ambitious companies such as Instep, which have the potential for greater growth.  The business has a strong and experienced senior management team, which is well placed to deliver its scale-up strategy and I am looking forward to supporting them on their journey.”

Rhiannon Nightingale of RGCF, said: “Instep is a great example of a well-established business, which continues to evolve and develop its strategy to meet the requirements of the market.  The introduction of the senior management team to the company two years ago was instrumental in taking the business forward and creating the platform for the next stage of its development with a larger group of shareholders and the support of a proactive and supportive private equity house.”

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