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  • Status: Current
  • Date: 2022
  • Sector:
    • Education & Training
  • Location: UK

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Paragon Skills

Paragon Education & Skills Group (Paragon Skills), is a leading national provider of care, education and associated professional training apprenticeships. Sovereign has backed the management team as the business looks to scale its offering both organically and through complementary acquisitions.

Investment Background

In 2015, Mark Botha, an experienced operator in the commercial service sector, joined Paragon Skills as CEO to develop the business and team and explore new market opportunities. The company was chaired by seasoned entrepreneur Heather Frankham, who Sovereign had already worked with through our investment in apprenticeship provider Lifetime Training. Mark and his team delivered strong financial and operational performance, and increased Paragon Skills' market share. To support continued growth, in 2022 Sovereign backed the management team with fresh capital to focus the offering on the growing care and education markets.

The Story So Far

Paragon Skills is a growing national apprenticeship provider rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted. The company currently supports over 7,000 learners annually and works with more than 2,000 businesses to deliver apprenticeships in a high-quality, consistent way.

With their expertise and training services rooted in the care and education sectors, together with their digital capabilities, Paragon Skills has some of the highest success and achievement rates in the industry reflecting its commitment to quality, impactful learning and support. They have an EPA (End-point assessment) pass rate of 99% with 65% of those achieving a strong pass – a merit or distinction. Learners rate their teaching and learning support ‘Excellent’ in over 84% of sessions and make strong links between ‘classroom’ learning and their job role.

Given the backdrop of the tightening of the regulatory environment, the increased need for workers in healthcare and education driven by the demand for nurseries services as the trend for both parents to be working continues, and an aging UK population requiring more care, the business is well positioned to both further grow across England and explore new areas to focus on.

The business won ‘Care apprenticeship provider of the year 2021/22’ and ‘Rate my Apprenticeship training provider of the year 2020/21', voted for by apprentices.

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Our mantra is ‘To deliver an outstanding teaching & learning experience to every learner, every time.’ The partnership with Sovereign enables us to continue to deliver strong, sustainable year-on-year growth, outstanding learner engagement and progression in our core sectors. We look forward to further supporting more learners and employers to unlock their potential through engaging and impactful apprenticeship training that helps to improve social outcomes.

Mark Botha / CEO / Paragon Skills