Slough edtech goes shopping in the Midlands


Slough-based Advanced, the UK’s third largest provider of business software and services, has bought two Midlands-based businesses.

Warwickshire-headquartered Smart Apprentices and Mansfield-based bksb.

Smart Apprentices provides software to help organisations manage apprenticeships. bksb develops  EdTech products which improve English and maths skills.

Gordon Wilson, CEO of Advanced, said: “These are two very strategic acquisitions for Advanced. They open up opportunities to expand our already leading position in the Further Education market to also take a dominant position in both the Private Training Provider and Apprenticeship market, at a time where skills development, education and learning in this country is being given a much-needed renewed focus.

“The UK has the highest percentage of underqualified workers among the 37 countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Upskilling the workforce with essential Maths, English and vocational training has been recognised by both the Government and employers in increasing productivity and profitability, with technology playing a vital role in its delivery.”

Founder of Smart Apprentices Fiona Hudson-Kelly added: “This acquisition represents a hugely exciting chapter in our company’s development.

“There is enormous synergy between Advanced and Smart Apprentices, and we see a huge opportunity to capitalise on the renewed focus we’re seeing on vocational learning.

“Over the past 12 months, businesses and entrepreneurs have had to be extremely agile in pivoting their organisations in order to thrive. In response to this, we are seeing the need for a new approach to learning and skills development and a convergence between employers, the workplace and the classroom.”

Advanced has a £254 million turnover, more than 19,000 customers and 2,400 employees.