Unigestion’s private equity team invests in UK apprenticeship provider Babington

Unigestion, the independent specialist asset manager, has acquired Babington, a UK apprenticeship provider, from RJD Partners. On behalf of its private equity direct investment fund, Unigestion has invested alongside the current management team, led by David Marsh, CEO of Babington, and is pleased to support management in achieving the next phase of growth.

Founded in 1974, Babington is one of the largest and longest-established apprenticeship and training providers in the UK. With a mission to develop better futures for businesses, individuals, and the communities in which it operates, Babington boasts an unrivalled scope of services from apprenticeships and short qualifications to professional training and pre-employment courses – all underpinned by technology, data, and deep learning expertise.

Having already secured recent major contracts with leading telecoms, infrastructure, and public sector clients, Babington continues to raise the profile of apprenticeships, skills bootcamps, and wider funded learning as a strategic tool to help organisations attract, develop, and retain talent.

In the last year alone, Babington has supported more than 9,000 learners. It has not only helped 2,500 adults access free adult learning as a direct route to employment, but has also placed over 800 school leavers into entry-level roles with some of the UK’s top employers.

David Marsh, Babington’s CEO, said: “We are delighted to be entering this exciting new chapter with Unigestion. We are committed to advancing the breadth, depth, and sophistication of our services to support customers in a holistic way. Our mission is to help organisations join the dots across their talent strategies whilst supporting individuals to build meaningful careers, and in turn developing better futures for all. In Unigestion we have found a partner that is fully aligned with our values to deliver a positive impact for our clients and to grow sustainably and responsibly.”

Pieter-Jan Frederix, Partner at Unigestion, said: „Apprenticeships are integral to addressing skills gaps and improving employee retention at a time when employees’ careers are ever evolving and talent is in high demand. We are thrilled to be partnering with the management team of Babington and support the further investment in products and partnerships, as well as to support a buy-and-build strategy that will propel Babington’s non-levy funded offering.”

The investment in Babington underpins Unigestion’s active direct investment strategy, coming only months after Unigestion led the buyout of Home Instead in Switzerland and the minority investment in US based logistics technology company, FreightWise.

Fulfilling one of Unigestion’s core investment themes, Future of Work, Babington is Unigestion’s second buy-out in the UK education sector, following its investment in nursery and pre-school group, Kindred.

Unigestion is currently in the market with its latest direct investment fund, Unigestion Direct III, which announced its first close in October 2022 and has now closed its first five investments in companies in the education, healthcare and waste management sectors.

As with all Unigestion’s private equity investments, ESG considerations were systematically integrated within the investment process, ensuring that the investment creates long-term, sustainable value for its clients, stakeholders and for society.

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