Access Training acquire Pitman Training Newcastle franchise from Entrust

The deal will increase Gateshead-based Access' workforce to 35, and add new courses to its existing services

Amy Cartmell, training supervisor; Malcolm Armstrong, owner and managing director, and Sarah Sproates, centre manager
Amy Cartmell, training supervisor; Malcolm Armstrong, owner and managing director, and Sarah Sproates, centre manager

Gateshead's Access Training has acquired the Newcastle franchise of Pitman Training from Entrust in an undisclosed deal.

Access, led by Malcolm Armstrong, the chairman of Northumbria Learning Providers, has been on the acquisition trail for some time, having bought Chester-le-Street-based Durham Training in 2013.

Pitman Training Newcastle will keep its name and range of courses offered from its current Hood Street premises, and now Gateshead Skills Academy on Team Valley Trading Estate.

All five members of staff will transfer to Access which will oversee the development of Pitman and its current 80-strong customer base.

The Pitman staff will join Access’ 30-strong workforce who contribute to turnover of just more than £2m.

The buyout will add book-keeping, secretarial and IT training capabilities to Access’ existing courses.

Mr Armstrong said: “The Pitman Training name is well known for business and office based training with a history going all the way back to 1837 and the introduction of Pitman shorthand.

“We want to build on that tradition and are looking forward to supporting learners through Pitman Training’s modern day range of courses ideal for those wanting to train as legal or medical secretaries, executive PAs or bookkeepers.”

The Newcastle Pitman franchise was sold to Entrust in 2013 by its former owners, who wanted to retire.

Other nearby Pitman centres include those in Carlisle, Wetherby and York. The Pitman story extends back to 1870 when Isaac Pitman formed a school to teach shorthand to men.

Pitman Training courses include distance learning and self-study packages.

The Newcastle training centre is open two evenings a week and Saturday mornings to fit around learners’ work commitments as many are already employed.

Access Training specialises in business and management training and gained Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) status more than 10 years ago.

Established in 1989 from the management buyout of English Estates YTS, Access Training has grown to be one of the leading apprenticeship training providers in the region with 20 staff.

The firm works with 1,000 learners and more than 200 local businesses each year and in 2009 became the only training provider in Tyne and Wear to achieve national recognition through the award of the prestigious Training Quality Standard.

Access recently introduced pre-apprenticeship training for 16-18 year olds, higher apprenticeships (Levels 4 and 5) and training for unemployed over 19s.

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