Learning Curve, set up in Bishop Auckland in 2004, has acquired Leeds-based Learning at Work (LaW), a specialist publisher, in a move to broaden its scope and services.
The Durham firm already delivers £20m of Adult Skills Budget provision to 50,000 learners through 39 college partnerships but it will now also provide learning materials to more than 100 colleges and private training providers by integrating LaW.
LaW’s success since it was founded six years ago sees its paper-based and online learning materials used by around 90,000 learners and rising.
That figure has almost doubled in a year along with turnover, which jumped from £2m in 2011 to £3.26m in 2012, and both companies believe learner numbers can be significantly increased further.
Learning Curve, which provides training programmes for 16 to 18-year-olds and adult learners, has used LaW’s materials for two years and credits them with helping to achieve a 93% per cent overall course success rate.
As well as delivering education for colleges, Learning Curve, works with employers to help staff aiming to gain qualifications and its programmes include apprenticeships with more than 1,800 employers, NVQs, literacy and numeracy, certificates and short courses, some delivered through flexible distance learning.
Skills centres, which train about 2,000 people a year, are based in Bishop Auckland, Middlesbrough and Sunderland, with military preparation in Leeds and Wakefield.
The new integrated business, known as the Learning Curve Group, will consist of LaW, Learning Curve, and Learning Curve Skills Centres, with each retaining its established branding, web presence and management structures.
Judith Moran, founder, chair and chief executive of the Learning Curve Group, said: “There is a great deal of synergy between the two companies that will be beneficial to our delivery partners and learners. There is a strong strategic fit between delivery and publishing, so this exciting development is a great opportunity to create a new integrated, high quality further education sector business.”
LaW managing director Jon Cummins, who will continue to run the firm, said he was delighted to be part of the group, adding: “This move is a fantastic opportunity.”