Palatine win Investor of the Year at the Education Investor Awards 2020


Palatine Private Equity have won the Investor of the Year Award at the Education Investor Awards 2020. Palatine were celebrated for their pioneering approach to backing businesses which have a positive impact on society which has seen it emerge as the investor of choice for UK skills and training businesses seeking to grow their market share and impact.

With three major investments in education businesses completed since 2017, Palatine has deployed its expertise in organic growth, roll-out strategies and its award-winning approach to improving ESG (Environmental, Social, & Governance) performance, to ensure these companies succeed.

In 2019 / 2020, Palatine’s hands-on and strategic support for the management teams of its training businesses has led to major expansions, revenue growth and, crucially, improved outcomes for trainees.

This successful year of activity culminated in Palatine completing its third investment in the education sector in October 2020 with the acquisition of a stake in Back2Work Group – which helps individuals return to employment and develop new skills.

Creating new investment opportunities for the training sector

Palatine was the first UK, mid-market private equity firm to launch a dedicated Impact fund with the sole aim of backing profitable businesses which make a positive impact on the environment or society.

Raised in 2017, the £100m Impact fund has a strategy of ‘returns with purpose’ and invests up to £10m in UK-headquartered businesses which are working to address major societal challenges.

Palatine launched the fund when it recognised that a growing demand from investors to back impact-oriented businesses was not being satisfied by existing funds in the private equity market.

Among the Impact fund’s four core investment themes is an aim to help create sustainable communities by backing businesses which are addressing skills gaps in the UK economy and improving social mobility. This focus has led to half of the investments made from the fund so far being directed into the training sector.
In addition to Back2Work, it has backed Estio, which offers a range of IT and digital apprenticeship programmes, and Trade Skills 4U a provider of electrician training courses focussed on reskilling adult learners.

By raising the Impact fund, Palatine has created new opportunities for skills & training businesses to access investment from like-minded investors who are not only looking to create value in the business but also to help improve its positive outcomes for local communities.

We needed to generate investment to achieve our objective of becoming a national training provider, and Palatine’s Impact Fund and commitment to make a positive difference made them the obvious choice. Palatine has been instrumental in supporting the business, enabling us to meet the rapidly increasing demand for apprenticeships since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2016. This includes the recruitment of staff, the addition of our Birmingham office and the revamp of other sites across the UK.

Lee Meadows

CEO, Estio Training