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  • Status: Realised
  • Date: 2011–2016
  • Sector:
    • Education & Training
  • Location: UK & Europe

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Sovereign backed the MBO of vocational training provider Lifetime, which delivers a wide range of traineeships, apprenticeships and training courses throughout the UK. During the time of Sovereign's partnership, Lifetime expanded its service offering and more than doubled its number of learners.

Investment Background

Lifetime is one of the UK's largest vocational training providers, offering pre-employment training, apprenticeship programmes and training courses nationwide, across a wide range of sectors including fitness, hospitality and retail. Established in 1995, Lifetime's founding principle was to support individuals and businesses to perform better through the delivery of outstanding training programmes.

Heather Frankham, who founded the business, wanted investment to take the company to the next level. In 2011, Sovereign backed the MBO of Lifetime, enabling Heather to step back in to a non-executive role. Sovereign backed the management team to implement an ambitious Buy & Build strategy, building on Lifetime's existing capabilities and rolling out their offering into new sectors.

Value Creation

  • Helped attract Alex Khan, new CEO, from Sovereign's network
  • Invested in significant organic expansion into new sectors
  • Supported the creation of a new commercial training unit
  • Invested in proprietorial e-learning delivery model

The Lifetime Growth Story

Sovereign supported the business to expand into multiple occupational areas and continue to win new contracts with employers. At exit:

  • The number of learners increased from c.10,000 per year to 22,000 across the UK
  • Its areas of sector focus diversified predominantly from fitness to delivering to the hospitality, health & social care, retail, early years, business & administration and beauty sectors
  • A bespoke e-learning capability to complement their blended learning model was developed
  • Year-on-year growth was delivered

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In their own words

I wanted an opportunity to shape the direction and achievements of a business focused on training. In Lifetime and in Sovereign I found that chance – a great business backed by a highly supportive investor that really understood the market.

Alex Khan / CEO